The BCCLA is demanding that the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) re-open their review of the Paul Boyd shooting investigation after a shocking video of the shooting was released by a witness today. Boyd was a professional animator who was shot to death by Vancouver Police on Granville Street in 2007.
The BCCLA’s call asks for the OPCC to investigate first, how the Vancouver Police Department failed to obtain the alarming video in their original investigation of themselves, and second, whether criminal or disciplinary action should be taken against the shooting officer and/or the investigating officers.
“How is it that the VPD investigators did not canvass these witnesses for what they saw?” asked Robert Holmes, Q.C., President of the BCCLA. “The video shows the photographer was in close proximity to the shooting. The failure of the VPD to control the scene and canvass witnesses for evidence is very troubling. The Independent Investigation Office will be relying on police departments to contain scenes and canvass for witnesses until the independent investigation can begin. If they can’t perform even that limited role, we’re in real trouble.”
Following the Coroner’s Inquest into Boyd’s death, the BCCLA wrote to the Criminal Justice Branch raising concerns about witness accounts, including police accounts, that Boyd had been disarmed and crawling when he was fatally shot. The response received from the Criminal Justice Branch Assistant Deputy Attorney General Robert W.G. Gillen dismissed the BCCLA’s concerns and concluded: “I believe we can both agree that the public interest is not served by my office expending valuable resources to confirm that assertions made by your organization [BCCLA] are not correct.”
The video released today shows Boyd, fully disarmed and having been shot six times already, crawling along Granville Street for twenty three seconds before he is fatally shot. A car obscures the camera from showing the last seconds of the incident, but the video clearly depicts the injured man being disarmed after falling, and then crawling towards the shooting officer while surrounded by other VPD officers.
“Like the Robert Dziekanski and the Frank Paul videos before it, this video account will reinforce some witnesses as credible, and undermine others,” said Robert Holmes, Q.C., President of the BCCLA. “For the Boyd family, and for the public’s confidence in our police accountability system, this video must be taken seriously and reviewed against already available evidence to determine whether it would change investigation outcomes.”