Criminal Justice Branch
says no need for trial in
police shooting of Paul Boyd

Johanna Schnackenburg (a project of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association)
Nov. 9, 2009

In 2007, Paul Boyd was shot and killed by a Vancouver Police officer. Officers responded to a 911 call concerning a man carrying a potentially dangerous weapon. Upon arrival, one officer shot Mr. Boyd eight times after he allegedly attacked two officers with a chain. The Criminal Justice Branch has just announced that it will not be advancing any criminal charges. In a report attached to the decision, the CJB advises that:

only one officer fired on Mr. Boyd, no other police officers fired a shot;

some attending police officers did not unholster their firearms;

the shooting officer fired at least four shots after a direction had been given to the attending officers to “hold their fire”

Mr. Boyd was hit by at least four bullets and possibly five bullets after he was completely disarmed, including the final bullet that hit Mr. Boyd in the head when Mr. Boyd was crawling;

the shooting officer said he believed Mr. Boyd was wearing body armour, and that Mr. Boyd was standing almost vertical and not crawling when he shot Mr. Boyd in the head;

the shooting officer said he recalled shooting four bullets, but actually fired nine.

The investigation was not conducted by an independent investigative body but, as is customary in BC, by the VPD itself. It took two years of investigation to come to the decision that there is no need for a trial. This result is not surprising. A criminal charge arising from a police-involved death would have been the first in BC history. However is astonishing that the CJB argued that a criminal conviction was ‘not possible’ on the evidence even though the case of such complexity that it took two years to come to a decision. Instead of referring this serious set of allegations to the truth finding process of trial, the CJB acted as judge and jury by itself.

Unlike in BC, where a police force investigates itself after a death in custody, the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba have independent agencies called Special Investigation Units to investigate potentially criminal police action. The case of Mr. Boyd shows clearly the need for an independent investigative body in BC. It is not surprising that the public has little confidence in the police investigating themselves when police-involved homicides has never gone to trial in BC.

The BCCLA will continue to campaign for reform. The circumstances of Mr. Boyd’s tragic death should not be kept secret and any decision regarding criminal responsibility should be made in court, and in public, not in private by the CJB.

March 19, 2012 update:
True to form, B.C. police complaint commissioner Stan T. Lowe
absolves Const. Lee Chipperfield for shooting Boyd eight times. More...
The only news is the B.C. Civil Liberties Association’s criticism.
David Eby and the BCCLA normally co-operate with Lowe and his corrupt ex-cops.
They also congratulate the BC Liberals for their con job on police accountability.
More on the BCCLA...
May 30, 2012 update:
Was Boyd’s behaviour provoked by a gun-wielding
undercover cop who didn’t identify himself? More...
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