Paul Boyd (September 30, 1967 - August 13, 2007) was a member of the production team of Ed, Edd n Eddy as a title sequence animator, the person who helped create the opening sequence of the show.
According to his family, Boyd was friendly, intelligent, gentle, humorous and compassionate. From his youth he showed an unusual gift for expression in the visual arts. For 15 years he had a successful career as an animator, employed by a number of different animation studios in Vancouver. He was passionate about his work, which was highly regarded.
While in his early twenties Paul was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (aka manic depression), an illness for which he has received constant and usually effective treatment. He battled this illness for almost 20 years. Most of the time he was well and few would have guessed that he suffered from any kind of mental disorder, but periodically he would suffer periods of mania and depression which could produce vivid paranoid delusions that made him fear imagined threats. Over and over he faced these setbacks and bravely climbed back out of the depths of his illness and was able to work productively and enjoy a satisfying life. Sadly, there are very few people who have not suffered from this illness who can appreciate what kind of courage this takes.
Paul Boyd was shot to death by the Vancouver police force on August 13, 2007 after he was seen creating a disturbance on Granville Street. Vancouver police claimed that he was shot by an officer in self-defense. As is customary in all fatal shootings, an investigation was opened, and the Vancouver police force investigated the situation before passing their findings on to the Criminal Justice Branch of British Columbia in March 2010. In December of that same year, however, a Coroner's Inquest provided several details that were not provided in the initial investigation. At this point, a complaint was filed by the BC Civil Liberties Association. In March 2012, however, the Police Complaint Commissioner issued a report that there was not clear and convincing evidence that excessive force had been used. However, in May 2012 a video taken by a tourist was released, which once again lead to the reopening of the case. The case went through several more departments before a conclusion that no charges would be laid against the policeman who shot him was reached on October 28, 2013.
On the evening of Monday, August 13, 2007, Boyd was witnessed acting strangely on Granville Street in the South Granville area of Vancouver near his home. Although he had taken medication that day to control his episodes, as was revealed by a police toxicology report, he was acting bizarrely, addressing strangers as friends and shouting loudly. Soon enough, this came to the attention of the staff and patrons of a nearby sushi restaurant, several of whom recognized such actions as signs of mental illness and called 9-1-1.
Later that evening, Boyd once again loudly addressed a man sitting on a bench as his friend. When the man made clear to Boyd that they didn't know each other, Boyd apologized for yelling at him and sat down on his backpack. While he was sitting on his backpack, a person in a nearby apartment on the 6th floor of a nearby building saw him sitting there and, associating him with the loud yells from a moment before, mistook the situation for an assault and the backpack for a person lying prone under Boyd. At this point, said witness called the police and reported that he heard shouting outside his apartment and saw what he thought was someone sitting on another person while an man on a bus stop bench was looking on.
Initial police reports said that the police were responding to a 9-1-1 call over an assault with a potentially lethal weapon. Police said Boyd began assaulting two officers, even going so far as to deliver a near-fatal blow with a heavy chain to one of them, when a third officer, who'd been in the force for three years, fired at him in self-defense. However, due to the use of deadly force on a mentally ill man, a controversy developed, which lead to an in-depth investigation.
This investigation in turn turned up several factual errors with the initial police report. These errors included, among others, three police officers being reported as involved in the incident when four were actually involved; the near-fatal blow was in actuality a blow to the head of an officer that drew blood but did not knock the officer unconscious, let alone come close to killing him; and the chain that supposedly delivered the blow, a bicycle chain with a lock on the end, was shown to have never been held by Paul Boyd.
The investigation revealed that the first officers on the scene were plainclothes officers in an unmarked police car. These officers exited their car, and one of them drew a gun on Boyd despite both he and the man on the bench being calm and there being no evidence of an assault. In his statement, the officer said that he saw a hammer in Boyd's hand and ordered him to drop it; although a claw hammer was found at the scene, it was never forensically tested to see who it belonged to. In addition, the man on the bench said when questioned that he didn't see a hammer in Boyd's hand. At this point, the officer ordered Boyd to lie down on the ground without identifying himself as a member of the Vancouver police force or doing anything to suggest that he was a legitimate figure of authority. Initially, Boyd complied, but when the second officer came forward to cuff him, he leapt up and struck the officer on the temple. Although initial police reports said that the officer was knocked unconscious and had suffered a near-fatal blow, the officer's own later testimony stated that he was not knocked out and was back on his feet almost immediately.
At that point, two more officers arrived. These officers were in uniform, and attempted to arrest him. Paul Boyd grappled with one of them and broke free, at which point he attempted to escape. Before he could get very far, the other officer (Constable Lee Chipperfield) drew his weapon and began shooting at him. A total of nine shots were fired at Boyd; eight of them hit him and led to his death.
Evidence presented at the inquest showed that in the thirty minutes between Boyd's disturbances at the sushi restaurant being reported to the police and his being shot to death, he had used no weapon and shown no aggression other than the aforementioned loud shouting. In addition, the reports from the police that Boyd had been swinging a chain with a lock attached to it were found to be unprovable, as forensic DNA tests were inconclusive as to who the chain belonged to. However, testimony from other officers and witnesses was incomplete; although all agreed that Boyd had been swinging something, what it was disagreed on, and whether something was attached to the end was also something the witnesses were unable to agree on. The only two chains found on the scene were an eighty-eight inch loop of bicycle chain with a padlock attached to the end and a twenty-two inch light chain that was seemingly made of paperclips. The latter one of these chains was the one described as the one that Boyd was using by the nearby bus bench witness.
Of the four officers, Lee Chipperfield was the only one to fire his weapon. He fired nine shots in total, with eight hitting Boyd; of these eight, the first two caused serious wounds, with one causing bleeding sufficient to soak Boyd's jeans in blood from the waist to the knees. After four or five shots, a policeman testified that Boyd had dropped his chain and that the officer had picked it up. By the time that the eight shot was fired, Boyd was on the ground, and according to most of the witnesses to the scene, including the police, he was at that point not a threat to anyone. Chipperfield claimed that he did not know Paul was unarmed when he delivered the final shot.
The case was finally closed in 2013 when after going through the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team and the Criminal Justice Branch of British Columbia, a special prosecutor (Mark Jetté) decided that the only appropriate charge based on the evidence would be one of second-degree murder, but the likelihood of a conviction against Chipperfield was small because an argument of self-defense would likely be enough to establish a reasonable doubt that Chipperfield knew Boyd was unarmed when he killed him. As such, no charges were laid against Chipperfield.Look Before You Ed" was dedicated in his memory. This became the 2nd episode to be dedicated to someone's memory, after "Dim Lit Ed" which was dedicated to Shawn "Wilfrid" Godin.