Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Head shot to disarmed, injured man, updated

Sunday, September 18, a 95 y.o. man assaulted another senior at the residential care facility of Vernon's Jubilee Hospital. The victim died and within hours, the elderly culprit was arrested, taken into court on a charge of murder and remanded in custody. He remains in jail. (Wednesday, CBC's Brady Strachan (@BradyStrachan) tweets "He's in a psychiatric centre now. Crown says likely be found not criminally responsible by mental disorder.")

The old man didn't have the benefit of what, in the final report of the Frank Paul death inquiry, Justice Davies called "preferential treatment in police-related cases."

Vancouver Police Constable Lee Chipperfield received preferential treatment. After killing Paul Boyd, he was neither charged nor disciplined. Instead, he continued working as a Vancouver City policeman. He and the police colleagues who watched Mr. Boyd die would have put the incident behind them except that tourist Andreas Bergen came forward with a video after he heard the Police Complaint Commissioner had ruled there was insufficient evidence to fault police.

As now MLA David Eby said,
"There is something about seeing a man crawling across the street to be shot in the head surrounded by police officers when he’s fully disarmed..."
James Forcillo, the Toronto police officer who killed Sammy Yatim also had that benefit. He was not arrested after the shooting nor was he arrested after Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit decided to lay a murder charge against him. Forcillo was allowed to surrender on Tuesday morning, appear in court for a bail hearing shortly after and depart about an hour later in a waiting SUV.


Twenty-three days after the fatal shooting of a youth contained within an empty streetcar, authorities charged Toronto Police Const. James Forcillo with murder.

Sammy Yatim shooting: murder charge for Toronto officer, CBC News, Aug. 19, 2013
A Toronto police officer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Sammy Yatim, the 18-year-old shot and killed in a streetcar last month.

A statement issued Monday from Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit — the province's police watchdog — says the actions of Const. James Forcillo in the downtown Toronto incident this summer justify a charge of second-degree murder...
Almost 2,200 days after Vancouver Police Const. Lee Chipperfield administered a kill shot to the head of unarmed and defenceless Paul Boyd, as the wounded man crawled on hands and knees on Granville Street, the killer has not been charged or disciplined. British Columbia prosecutors continue to examine the homicide, more than six years after the execution.

Vancouver Police officers who stood on the street within steps of Boyd's killer took no action and facilitated the subsequent cover-up orchestrated by Police Chief Jim Chu. Unfortunately, abuse of authority, including violence and homicide, is an accepted part of the culture of policing. Canada is only different by degree from Mexico, Egypt, North Korea, Russia and other states that instigate or excuse brutal policing.

Enhanced video of Paul Boyd homicide.

The above is an update to the following version of this article from July 18.

A June 26 release by the BC Civil Liberties Association:
VANCOUVER – The BC Civil Liberties Association and the family of Paul Boyd are pleased with the BC Criminal Justice Branch’s decision to appoint a special prosecutor to reconsider the laying of criminal charges in the police shooting death of Paul Boyd in August 2007. The appointment comes two years after the Criminal Justice Branch originally refused requests from the BCCLA and the Boyd Family to appoint a special prosecutor, saying that it would not be in the public interest.

“We are encouraged that the Crown is finally taking action to reconsider laying charges in the Boyd case,” said Josh Paterson, Executive Director of the BCCLA. “The evidence that Boyd was not a threat to police when he was shot and killed has been known for years. Justice requires that an independent special prosecutor take a hard look at this tragedy. This is a positive step.”

A year ago in May 2012, the BCCLA asked for this case to be reopened after a video came to light confirming that Boyd appeared to be crawling at the time he was shot by police. The BCCLA was pleased at the time that the BC government, the Vancouver Police Department, and the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner quickly responded by asking Alberta’s Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) to open an investigation. ASIRT has now reported back to BC Assistant Deputy Attorney General M. Joyce DeWitt-Van Oosten, QC, who has appointed a special prosecutor in response..."
While appointment of respected lawyer Mark Jetté is appropriate, the record of special prosecutors in British Columbia is not a good one. Because many law firms and senior lawyers have regular business relationships with government, they are not free from prejudice and favouritism. They tend to deliver results desired by the ministry that hires them.

Police accountability for wrongful deaths and major misconduct fails routinely because senior police and public officials close ranks to protect wrongdoers with whom they are associated. The response occurs because the consequences of full and frank disclosures of wrongdoing would be costly and damaging to reputations of agencies and institutions. They choose instead to let individual families suffer tragedies.

* * * * *
Kim Bolan, Vancouver Sun, May 31, 2012
"…And [Chief Jim] Chu confirmed that Const. Lee Chipperfield, who fired the fatal shots at a crawling and wounded Boyd, is still on the job and carrying a gun…"
* * * * *

The following article was first published here March 24, 2012. With the homicide of Paul Boyd back in the news, it's again worth a read.

Paul Boyd
August 13 2007,  39-year-old Paul Boyd, a successful animator who suffered bipolar disorder, created a disturbance on Granville Street. When police arrived, he struggled with them, reportedly armed with a bicycle locking chain, and failed to follow instructions. VPD Constable Lee Chipperfield shot Boyd repeatedly, dropping him to the ground. The wounded man, now disarmed, struggled to get up. Chipperfield shot an eighth time, a fatal round to Boyd's head. The policeman fired despite his partner calling out, "Hold your fire."

Days later, CBC reported one witness saying the man's death was like an execution, claiming Boyd was on his knees when the last shots were fired. Jonathan Menzies said:
"They had made a decision to kill this man and they shot him and shot him and shot him until he could not do anything at all"
Fifteen months later, prosecutors issued a decision:
"An exhaustive review, involving senior prosecutors within the Criminal Justice Branch, has resulted in the conclusion that there is insufficient evidence to establish that the officer's use of force was excessive in the circumstances."
CBC reports from the Paul Boyd inquest:
The Vancouver police officer who shot a mentally ill man up to eight times three years ago on Granville Street says he didn't realize his police partner had already disarmed the man.
Shooter Lee Chipperfield at the coroner's inquest into the August 2007 death of Paul Boyd:
"The fact that someone's been shot three times and is still able to get up . . . it was shocking to me. The threat was still there."
The Province, March 19, 2012:
"Stan Lowe, the Police Complaint Commissioner concluded that there is no evidence that showed Chipperfield used unnecessary or excessive force during the tense incident. ...the OPCC has made the decision to conclude the matter and take no further action."
BC Civil Liberties Associations questions OPCC:
Mentally ill man killed by “inattentionally blind” police officer
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...

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.”
With hundreds of police involved fatalities over the last 15 years, B.C. has the largest number of deaths per year of any of the six provinces and territories for which numbers were available. Part of the reason for that is the near complete absence of accountability when police officers shoot citizens.

A new method is planned to examine deaths resulting from police actions. Don't expect any change in results though. Government has a financial interest in exonerating public servants as long as government pays resulting damages awarded.

Further reading: Police involved deaths - the need for reform, BC Civil Liberties Association, 2012
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24 comments:

  1. Welcome to Canada.

    Corrupt and thieving politicians are rewarded. All politicians and the elite need, is a special prosecutor, to get away with their crimes. DUI's and all.

    Police can be caught on video committing their crimes. They commit worse crimes, than the people they arrest. Their punishment is a one year paid leave of absence, and/or a transfer to a different detachment. Sometimes losing a day's pay or, assigned a desk job for a few days. Their punishment never fits their crimes.

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  2. I don't know what to say. In my mind this goes beyond sanity to another place and in my mind a place no-one should ever even contemplate.
    This guy was shot multiple times to the point of incopasitation, he was helpless but someone made the decision to put a gun to his head and pull the trigger. The police claim no fowl and meanwhile the public gets more fearfull and more untrustworthy.
    Am I supposed to feel safer or have compassion for the officer who in my mind commited murder,I'm sorry but certain morals and common regard for my fellow man won't allow this.
    I don't care how they spin it, I don't care if I am radical or opposing, this officer is nothing more than a murderer, a brutal cold hearted murderer. This mans life is gone!
    Don

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  3. I vividly recall an interview on CBC Radio's national show, As It Happens in August 2007, with a man who witnessed the entire incident as a passenger in a bus that was at the scene. He was a very credible person, and had been shaken to the core to see the police execute this man after it was clear to everyone that the man was no longer a threat.

    Thank you for revisiting this story in a way that no MSM here in BC has done. In so doing, you are helping to educate the public so that they can awaken from the slumber of ignorance and apathy, and we can start to take control of our province, and our country back from the corrupt police, government, lawyers, judges, etc.

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  4. In my opinion this is another cover up. It would appear all police shootings in the province are "justified". I don't know how that can be. The man alledgedly had a chain in his hands. How does that threaten some one's life to the extent they need to be shot? Give me a break. You either talk the person out of it or you tackle them. I am sure two people could have disarmed the man with the chain. Police officers carry batons, surely they know how to use them. If a police officer can't defend themselves with a baton & simply fighting they should be looking at another line of work (if the suspect doesn't have a gun)

    I suspect there is also a lack of training of police when it comes to dealing with people who pose some sort of threat but do not have a gun.

    The shot to the head, that was an execution. It would have been better for the police officer to have just admitted he was so scared or so hiped on adrenilan he got carried away. That people can understand. The lies, the attempts at white wash, no one believes it so I can only conclude the various levels of government go along with it so they don't get sued.

    It is high time there was out side oversight for police shootings.

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    Replies
    1. "if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail"

      Delete
  5. I feel that although this man was posed as a threat, he did not attempt legitimate physical harm. Police officers are getting to the point that this isn't going to slow down unless there is a punishment for these kinds of incidents. Just because you are a police officer, doesn't mean you are above the law.

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  6. The video showing the victims' "coup des gras" shot to the head is especially disturbing when one thinks that this renewed "investigation' has dragged on for five + YEARS.............

    A man crawling on his hands and knees with at least 5 police standing around watching while another police officer leans down and carefully takes aim............disgusting doesnt even begin to describe it.

    Another cover up for Chief Chu to deal with ....

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  7. G. Barry StewartJuly 19, 2013 at 8:24 AM

    If Teresa Wat were in charge of the investigation, it would be, "Let's move on."

    No... that last shot especially was unwarranted and was murderous. I would suspect that other cops at the scene were wondering "WTF did you do THAT for?" — but the blue line keeps them united.

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  8. The first 2 comments (Anonymous and Don F) put my feelings into words better than I could have. This was nothing less than an execution and is something I expect to read about in El Salvador or Afghanistan.

    Though I was sickened at the time and am again now, thanks Norm for revisiting this. However, in the grand scheme of things, those of us who have concerns and want to stay informed are in the minority. The complacent masses don’t read blogs and would simply yawn and say “Paul who?” And that is as scary as the execution itself.

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  9. I have watched the video of this over and over. A man crawling on his hands and knees is a threat to no-one except a coward and his colleagues.

    It was an execution.

    The obvious tragedy of one man’s life gone is coupled together with the even greater tragedy of many colleagues of this constable standing and watching this murder and none of them, not one of them moves to disarm the murderer.
    This tells me they all agreed with the event and enabled or facilitated the outcome.

    I would not characterize any of them as officers. They have all demonstrated conduct unbecoming.

    They utterly failed to provide the necessities of life to a fatally injured human being.

    Further the decision by Chu to retain this constable is negligence of the highest degree.

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  10. Police in Great Britain and some of its dependencies, Eire, Iceland and Norway have routinely unarmed police and of course our other emergency services, who regularly encounter troubled individuals, do not have guns. They deal with this kind of problem with words, patience and training. Unfortunately some elements in our police forces seem to have the attitude of an occupying army unconstrained by the Geneva Conventions, and this can only get worse so long as the good cops, and there are plenty of them, make themselves complicit by misplaced solidarity with the bad.

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  11. TO ANYONE WHO THINKS THERE ARE SOME GOOD COPS

    "When we are dealing with the police as an institutional structure, we are not dealing with a group of individuals acting on their own personal feelings and judgments, but rather, with a group of functionaries who have, as part of the terms of their jobs, agreed to set their personal opinions and feelings aside and instead act as obedient agents of the state… Thus, if we are referring to “the police" as an institution, rather than the personal feelings of individual police, no, they are not “part of the 99%", they are the enforcers of the 1%’s power." — David Graeber, PHD Professor of Anthropology

    Would you say that Nazi soldiers were all corrupt? I would. Were there individual Nazi soldiers who were good people that were probably just led astray? Probably. But we would still say that Nazi soldiers were corrupt, wouldn't we? Yes, I think so.

    The same logic is applied to Canadian police in their current form. Mind you, I am not comparing police to Nazi's. I'm simply illustrating the logical thought process. The institution, as a whole, is corrupt. That's the point. This “there are some good cops” rhetoric attempts to deny this by pointing out irrelevant opinions about individual officers.
    But most cops are good right? It's just “a few that spoil the bunch or bad apples”

    In today's Canadian society, if you don't suggest this propaganda at the end of any comment regarding police brutality, you're labeled as anti-police, or perhaps a conspiracy theorist.

    So the next time you see a video of 12 cops, 5 of which are beating the shit out of a suspect, don't just castrate the 5 cops who are clearly to blame. Ask yourself: What about the other 7? Why didn't they come forward? Why weren't those cops stopping the others? THEN… tell me it's just a few bad apples.

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  12. Sorry for the late comment, Norman, but it may be worth taking a look at the cellphone video shot by Winnipeg tourist Andreas Bergen but only released to the media in 2012. The video shows Boyd crawling slowly on his knees shortly before being killed. Bergen says he didn't provide the evidence to the inquiry thinking there was better evidence but later thought he should make it available due to the lack of police accountability.

    Here's a Huffington Post article with the video:
    http://goo.gl/wVR4QA

    I just recently discovered your blog and I'm enjoying it immensely.

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  13. Photo of Saigon cop shooting captive in the head during war should accompany all stories re Boyd. Say what you will about old school cops like Bernie Smith, his cohort weren't shooting up the town like this new breed of cowboys. Criminology degrees,my ass!

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  14. Norm , I think you hit the nail on the head when you state

    "Don't expect any change in results though. Government has a financial interest in exonerating public servants as long as government pays resulting damages awarded."

    ANY government investigation into a questionable death is automatically tainted with bias if that self same govt is ultimately financially liable. Obviously a govt investigation will pull out all the stops to prove they own innocence.
    Perhaps a change in the criminal or civil code to allow Police officers (and any other public employees) to be PERSONALLY financially liable in the event of willfull or gross negligence.
    Or the govt can pretend its like ICBC and pay out huge personal injury claims to injured or deceased parties and then sue the person responsible for reimburesment.
    Lets face it. The govt can pass laws to do just about anything it wants.
    However, this could open the door to politicians being charged with gross negligence almost on a daily basis.
    The govt passing a punitive law against its own employees?
    What was I thinking?

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  15. “Photo of Saigon cop shooting captive in the head during war should accompany all stories re Boyd. “

    Not exactly. Often in war the highest ranking official becomes the law in many regions without law and order.

    The captive in that famous photo was suspected of being a spy and was dealt with exactly how spies are dealt with during wartime.

    I have late family members who were high ranking officers in India 38-47 and had to do the same.

    This is a completely different situation with Boyd. This was during peace time and involved a civilian peace officer shooting a mentally ill person who, when off medications, or medications are off (not functioning which is common) are not considered responsible for their actions.

    Moreover;

    Boyd was helpless to stop what he was doing because he was in a psychotic state. A person in a psychotic state cannot be reasoned with as their reality is different at that particular moment.

    Having three slugs in him he was panicked mentally and crawling perhaps to try and get away from the hurt and pain he was receiving.

    Have you ever been shot? The brain will kick into survival mode and try to move the body away from the danger; this could be automatic response, the crawling.

    I seriously doubt Boyd could hear anything in his panicked state let alone comprehend or obey any commands.

    It is interesting to observe, that while the authorities spend endless amounts of time excusing this constable with the phantom claim of being “inattentionally blind” the authorities are not willing to excuse Boyd of the same thing; his inability to respond to a command while in a psychotic state, along with the panic, hurt and confusion of being shot three times.

    How would anyone act after being shot three times? Not normally for sure.

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  16. If a group of adults decided to put elementary students in charge of UBC as of tomorrow, and the result of this was UBC not existing a month from now, would this be the fault of the elementary students that were put in charge of the university?

    Of course it wouldn't be.

    So yes, much cop behaviour is questionable these days, however, it wouldn't be if Canada's leadership wasn't only low to mediocre quality at best.

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  17. Shoot first, questions can be dealt with later.
    Tell me why the objects of the Boyd shooting in Vancouver, the Yatim shooting in Toronto, others in BC and across Canada, ......tell me, when you have sizeable teams of police officers surrounding one lone subject who is NOT armed with a firearm, why it is not possible for one of the many cops to, say, kneecap the subject or otherwise incapacitate them without utilizing a "kill shot"? I mean, aren't our police officers, especially SWAT or ERT teams with expert marksmen, supposed to be superbly trained?
    Or is it that a wounded subject may decide to take criminal or civil court action against the cop(s) somewhere down the line? I guess a dead subject can't sue, can they.
    These people are supoposed to uphold the law and protect the public, not kill them. Will anything change? Not until WE demand it.
    All I can say is thank god the makers of smart phones decided to put cameras in them.

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  18. "I guess a dead subject can't sue, can they."

    Nor can they provide that pesky contradictory testimony on the witness stand.

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  19. .........and once again the BC media will ignore this possible chain of events in Toronto to tie Constable Lee Chipperfield to a possible 2nd Degree Murder charge......

    It would involve foresight and testicular fortitude to actually critisize the people in charge......

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  20. When incidents like this happen, I think the police officers are exonerated of any wrong-doing because if they were actually found guilty of murdering somebody, then that would indicate that there is a problem with the police institution. That, in turn, would require somebody to fix it. It's easier to say "Nothing here, move along" than it is to fix a problem.

    As for police using excess force, I sometimes wonder if the officers think they should behave as police officers on TV do. When I see police incidents on the news, particularly in the US, you see a multitude of police officers running around with bullet-proof vests, high-powered rifles, helmets, etc. like you do on TV. They are usually over-equipped for the situation (not to mention, they are often on the scene too late to do much, for example, when the shooter has already shot him/herself). Is TV echoing real life, or is real life echoing TV?

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  21. "Is TV echoing real life, or is real life echoing TV?"

    Well,
    Decide for yourself.

    This is a warning about graphic content.

    Here is an argument for the other side of the equation. Nothing to do with Boyd but it does reveal what being employed with the police in the US can entail. America gone completely mad.

    This video is on Youtube but restricted.

    The female constable lost her index finger (a month on the job), the male constable had slight injuries. The shooter had another 8 mags for the AK-47.

    This version does not start at the beginning; what is missed here is the part where the police unit is heading south and the driver comes from the east and turns north, runs a stop sign, the police unit U-turns and gives chase;

    The constable in the driver’s seat upon reloading empties 17-19 shots into the fellow.

    Norm if you are of the opinion that this is too graphic then please pull this down with apologies.

    http://www.everydaynodaysoff.com/2013/05/05/ohio-ak-47-gunman-runs-stop-sign-and-dumps-on-police-when-pulled/


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  22. Their is obviously two sets of rules when it comes to "the law". As Mother always said, one for the rich, one for the poor. In today's society it can be, one for the police, one for the public.

    What a 92 yr old person is doing in jail is beyond me. He ought to be in a hospital, under guard, but not in prison.

    The officer who shot and killed Mr. Boyd, ought to have been arrested and sent to trial. Let the court decide if he is guilty or not. Why the "prosecutors" have taken so much time, etc. is not consistent with the rules of a just society. It is as if prosecutors get to decide whether a person is guilty or not. We have a system, trial by judge or trial by judge and jury. The police officer in Vancouver should be required to stand trial. He certainly should not be on the job with a gun. What some of those politicians should be thinking about is, next time it could be my kid that officer shoots and kills. Don't think it can't happen. The police may know who you are, but they rarely know who your kid or spouse is.

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  23. Beware BC Civil Liberties Association -- they're not what they appear to be.

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