Friday, June 8, 2012

Controversy Surrounds the Death of Artist Paul Boyd

Anna Maria Tremonti interviewed  the father of late Vancouver artist, Paul Boyd. The interview was heartrending for Paul's father told of his son suffering from mental illness and losing his life in a confrontation with the police.  While the death of the mentally ill at the hands of the police is a huge social tragedy, I approach this blog entry from the perspective of an artist.

Paul's father reported to Tremonti, that his son was an outstanding artist.  So it was that I googled Paul's name and came up with some items of interest.

The website, cartoonbrew reports a few details of Paul's bio.Blog writer Jerry Beck writes:

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!

The website wikia reports:
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 the past 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 and it was highly regarded.

While in his early twenties Paul was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (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.

During the evening of Monday August 13, 2007, Boyd was in the midst of one of his episodes. Vancouver police arrived on who were responding to a 9-1-1 call, with a potentially lethal weapon. Police said Boyd began assaulting two officers, so far as delivering 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. His actions during his last moments were not part of his personality but were a result of the irrational fear produced by his illness. Controversy had sparked over the officer's use of deadly force.
In 2012 video footage from a tourist was discovered which re-opened the case.

For those so inclined, a Google search turns up videos of Paul's death in his disturbing confrontation with the police.

Please click here to visit the wikia website.
Please click here to visit the cartoonbrew website.

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