The Independent Investigations Office is clarifying media reports over a Kamloops incident that saw a suspect shot in the back by police in November 2017.
According to the IIO, it is not investigating the shots fired by the RCMP officer at Michael Shawn Boyer outside the Tournament Inn.
A Kamloops this Week Feb. 19 article, regarding a court proceeding, detailed a violent altercation between Michael Shawn Boyer and Const. Matthew James.
The article claims Boyer was shot in the back as he moved away from Const. James, although at the time police said that only shots were fired.
Boyer was wearing body armour. When he was arrested two days later, after an exhaustive manhunt, police found a spent round in the upper left shoulder of his Kevlar vest and a matching bullet hole in his backpack.
The 41-year-old Kamloops man pleaded guilty on Monday to charges of carrying a weapon and using an imitation firearm in the commission of an offence. He was sentenced to two years in jail less time served.
Thirteen Kamloops RCMP officers, James included, were in the courtroom to witness the sentencing.
According to an agreed statement of facts filed during Boyer’s sentencing hearing, James happened upon a potential drug transaction involving Boyer outside the Tournament Inn just before 5:30 p.m. The document states James approached Boyer and told him he wanted to pat him down for officer safety. Boyer turned away from James, who then said he was being detained.
James grabbed Boyer and a struggle ensued. Boyer knocked James to the ground.
“He [James] was on his hands and knees when Boyer produced a weapon and pointed it at him,” the document reads.
“It appeared to be a semi-automatic handgun. Const. James believed the gun was real.”
James then reached for his sidearm, to which Boyer yelled, “If you go for your gun, I’ll shoot you,” the document states.
James put his hands in the air.
“Boyer began to walk away,” the document continues.
“Const. James was able to stand up and back away as well. When Boyer turned away, Const. James drew his service pistol.
“Boyer began to move towards the stairwell of the motel. Const. James fired a shot at Boyer’s back, considering him to be an active threat to himself, other responding members as well as the general public.”
James then took cover behind his RCMP cruiser.
“He saw Boyer come back into view still holding a weapon,” the document states. “Const. James fired another shot at him. Boyer disappeared from view and Const. James held his position until other members arrived.”
Independent Investigations Office spokesman Marten Youssef told KTW on Monday that his office was looking into the matter. The IIO, B.C.’s police watchdog agency, issued a press release Tuesday saying Kamloops RCMP had no obligation to report the shooting because Boyer did not suffer serious injuries.
James remains off work, the court heard, dealing with a shoulder injury he suffered during the altercation. He is expected to be off for a year.
In addition to the jail time, Boyer will also be prohibited for life from possessing firearms.
As Boyer did not suffer any serious injury in the interaction with police, the RCMP were not required to contact the IIO about the matter.
The IIO told Kamloops this Week it was investigating the matter, this, however, was incorrect and the following statement was released:
An IIO spokesperson is quoted as stating that in less serious cases the IIO is nevertheless notified, which may have suggested there was an obligation on the RCMP to alert the IIO about this matter.
The IIO confirms that the RCMP had no obligation to report this matter as this was not a matter that involved serious injury or death, which defines the IIO’s mandate.
—- With files from Kamloops this Week