The Alberta agency tasked with examining new video evidence related to the police-involved shooting death of a mentally ill Vancouver man in 2007 will not solely be focused on the 49-second tape filmed by a tourist.
Clifton Purvis, executive director of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, said his investigators will review all the work done to date on why a Vancouver police constable shot Paul Boyd on the evening of Aug. 13, 2007.
That includes the police investigations, a coroner's inquest and a review by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner, which concluded Const. Lee Chipperfield did not use unnecessary or excessive force in the incident.
"My mandate isn't to restrict the investigation to the new video, but to look at anything else that might surface during the course of the investigation," said Purvis, a former Crown prosecutor whose agency includes former and current police officers. "It's a big job."
The provincial government appointed the Alberta unit Tuesday after shaky, dimly lit videotape taken by a Winnipeg tourist was broadcast on the CBC Monday.
The video filmed by Andreas Bergen partly shows Chipperfield firing the fatal shot that killed Boyd while he crawled on his hands and knees towards the officer near the intersection of Granville Street and West 12th Avenue.
The video shows Boyd on Granville Street slowly advancing on a group of officers with their guns drawn. Boyd is seen crawling in front of an SUV, which obscures the final shot, but the sound of the gun's blast is clearly heard on the video.
Bergen told the CBC he released the video after learning Police Complaint Commissioner Stan Lowe cleared Chipperfield in March of any wrongdoing.
Boyd, 39, who suffered from bipolar disorder and associated paranoia, was killed after a series of events that escalated to Chipperfield firing his gun nine times in 81 seconds.
Eight of the bullets struck Boyd, with the fatal shot coming 23 seconds after his first burst of bullets from his handgun. Chipperfield told investigators and testified at a coroner's inquest that he shot Boyd in the head with the last shot because he still believed him to be a threat and potentially wearing body armour.
Chipperfield said he believed Boyd was on his feet and "practically vertical" when he fired the fatal shot. But Lowe noted in his report the discrepancy among several of the witnesses "as to Mr. Boyd's body positioning and the level of risk he presented at the time of the fatal shot."
Police responded to the area after receiving a report of an assault, which turned out to be false but Boyd was heard yelling in the background.
Two plainclothes officers approached Boyd at a bus stop and noticed he was clenching a hammer. One of the officers drew his gun and told Boyd to drop the hammer, which he did.
When the officer attempted to handcuff Boyd, he grabbed a bike chain with a lock attached and struck the officer in the head, knocking him to the ground.
Another officer arrived and attempted to gain control of Boyd, using empty hand strikes and his baton, to no avail. Boyd also struck this officer with the chain.
Boyd then ran into the street and continued to swing the chain in a "menacing manner," according to Lowe's report. That's when Chipperfield opened fire on Boyd.
Tom Stamatakis, president of the Vancouver Police Union, said he wasn't opposed to the Alberta investigation unit reviewing the video evidence.
But Stamatakis said his viewing of the video simply confirms the evidence given in the investigation. He noted the video does not capture the events that led to the shooting.
"The easiest thing in the world to do is sit on the sidelines and second guess what police officers do when they're dealing with difficult situations," he said, noting the depth of the investigations conducted into the incident, including an inquest. "For someone to suggest that now, after all of that, something different should have been the outcome, I think is a bit off side."
David Eby, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said the video will clarify any confusion about Boyd's final moments before Chipperfield fired the fatal shot.
"It's nice to have a fresh set of eyes on this," he said.
The VPD has referred comment on the case to the Alberta unit. The B.C. Coroners Service also announced Tuesday that it will review its investigation and inquest into the death of Boyd, an animator.
"Clearly, this video is an important piece of evidence regarding what happened during Mr. Boyd's last moments," said Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe in a statement.
Purvis said the provincial government set no deadline for his agency to finish the investigation. If warranted, he will make recommendations to the provincial government, which will have the final say on whether to act on them, he added.