It’s Paul Boyd’s birthday today. He’d be 48 if he hadn’t been killed in a police shooting in 2007.
Since his college years, Paul had suffered from a mental illness most easily described as bipolar disorder. But he still managed to get himself educated and find meaningful work as one of Vancouver’s top animators. Paul worked on Gary Larson’s TV specials, Tales from the Farside, and he contributed his talents to the stunningly beautiful film At the Quinte Hotel.
In 2007 Paul’s mother, with whom he was very close, was dying of ALS. Paul was devastated and his illness worsened. He was on Granville Street, shouting at people, when police were called to a possible assault in progress. (There was no assault.) Paul was shot by police 2 ½ minutes after they arrived at the scene.
Paul’s death was a huge news story in Vancouver – not just when it happened but also 4 ½ years later, in 2012, when a video surfaced out of the blue showing that he was on his hands and knees at the time the fatal shot was fired. That visual was at odds with the police version of events.
One part of the story that hasn’t been told – why Paul was even on the street that August night. When his possessions were returned to his father after the legal proceedings wrapped up, David Boyd saw something in his son’s last notebook that police had over-looked or thought unimportant: Paul was apparently looking for medical help that night. David Boyd took us out onto Granville Street for what was a very poignant tour of his son’s final hours.
Paul Boyd, September 30, 1967-August 13, 2007