Paul Boyd + Mental Illness + Police = Tragedy
Barry Artiste, Now Public Contributor
Chain wielding Paul Boyd, mentally ill during his altercation with Vancouver Police is described by friends and family as a gentle giant, who at times had sprints of delusional paranoia. Unfortunately for Vancouver Police, Paul Boyd had one in their presence which resulted in being gunned down after delivering a near fatal blow to a Vancouver Police officer who encountered Paul Boyd on a Vancouver Street.
My Final Thought
Now Public Readers, reading the accompanying news story and agree Paul Boyd's actions were totally out of Character, Now Public Readers should also know actions by Vancouver Police were totally out of Character as well. In the end both people involved became victims of mental illness, along with friends and family who know and love both victims.
Below is an excerpt from News 1130
Vancouver animator Paul Boyd was shot and killed by police last Monday night. Boyd was a director on Ed, Edd ‘n Eddy and The Mr. Hell Show and provided animation on Gary Larson’s Tales From the Far Side and Mucha Lucha!.
Story and Photo / Source www.news1130.com
Vancouver Sun Story
The killing of a delusional 39-year-old animator suffering from a bipolar disorder catapults back into the headlines questions about the investigation of police shootings and the use of deadly force.
Paul Boyd's death also was another sad reminder of the nearly always-tragic results that occur when those with mental health problems collide with the law.
His family, who wanted privacy, issued a heart-wrenching statement Monday lamenting the passing of a gentle and kind bear of a man.
Still, Boyd is said to have attacked officers with a heavy chain, clubbing one on the side of the head, knocking him senseless, before being felled in a hail of bullets.
Witness accounts are conflicting, but there may be videotape of incident that occurred about 9:30 p.m. last Monday on South Granville.
The spotlight is on the Vancouver police department's handling of the incident.
We've seen this before.
Someone suffering from mental illness is killed brandishing a knife, wielding a cudgel or simply acting in a manner so threatening that responding officers consider they have no choice but to reply with deadly force.
Given the circumstances, it's hard to envision a different outcome in this case.
That's why I don't hold out much hope the current investigation underway or any subsequent coroner's inquest will come up with a better way of handling these volatile and explosive situations.
Tasers were supposed to be an option.
But there are concerns about their use and, since they'll never be issued to every officer, they never will be dependably on hand.
Regardless, this case seems black and white: Once an officer goes down and remains prone within striking distance of the assailant, it's hard to see how his colleagues have a choice.
That said, however, we'll have to wait and see the results when all the evidence is in.
The bottom line is those in the grips of mental illness pose a difficult and dangerous dilemma not only for police but also for the rest of the legal system.
For example, only days after Boyd ran amok, the B.C. Supreme Court was dealing with 82-year-old Raymond Lehoux.
This elderly former stevedore suffering from mental illness attacked a lawyer with a scythe during divorce proceedings and nearly decapitated him in 1995.
The judge who sentenced Lehoux to seven years of imprisonment said any appeal court that came to rule on the case should look at the size of the sickle.
In 2004, Lehoux took a dislike to prosecutor Susan Boyd.
She recommended he be refused leave to appeal his conviction for the 1995 attack to the Supreme Court of Canada.
As a result, he sent her a note threatening to re-enact his Grim Reaper performance.
He was subsequently charged but his first trial ended in a hung-jury mistrial.
In March of this year, a second jury convicted Lehoux of threatening the Crown attorney.
Before trial, Lehoux had been held for some three months without bail after his arrest because of his previous conviction for aggravated assault.
He was later held for another two months because of what the court called his "contumacious behaviour" when ordered to undergo a pre-sentence report.
The Supreme Court said that was enough punishment for his "ill-considered and silly threat."
Justice Randall Wong gave Lehoux a two-year suspended sentence and said if he followed his probation order and didn't step out of line, he was off the hook.
The nasty old man left muttering his continued gripes about the legal system and how he was being "screwed" by the courts.
I wish I could say he and Boyd were anomalies, but they are not.
And there's no easy answer to the problems they pose.