The BCCLA is questioning a five year delay, and unusual expert evidence, in a new report that again clears the VPD in the shooting of Illustrator Paul Boyd. Boyd was shot eight times by police in August, 2007, with the last, and fatal, shot coming after Boyd had been disarmed.
The OPCC attributes part of the five year delay to bringing in an expert psychologist to examine the event, in particular to opine on why the officer kept shooting after Boyd was disarmed of a bicycle lock chain.
According to the OPCC, the expert explained in a secret report that: “Constable Chipperfield’s failure to perceive Constable Baird’s removal of the chain from Mr. Boyd is reasonably explained […] in terms of his intense emotional reaction to the events coupled with a restricted focus that rendered him ‘inattentionally’ blind.”
David Eby, Executive Director of the BCCLA, said the BCCLA hopes the province’s new Independent Investigation Office will do a better job in future police shooting investigations: “We expect some level of accountability for officers shooting every bullet in their handguns beyond an expert saying, literally, that this officer was in a blind panic, which apparently immunizes the officer from legal or procedural review.”
The BCCLA is also questioning the way in which the report was written by the OPCC, noting that a key detail – that Boyd was disarmed when he was shot fatally in the head – was not mentioned until the second last page, and that the entire process from beginning to end took almost five years.
“We imagine the OPCC put on page six of a seven page report that Mr. Boyd was disarmed when he was shot by an officer blind with an ‘intense emotional reaction’ because that fact is incredibly embarrassing when placed beside their conclusion that the officer did not breach any policy or use of force rule,” said Eby. “A five year wait for this? The only result of this five year long investigation is ever more tortured explanations for an officer’s actions in shooting a disarmed and badly injured man in the head.”