RCMP officer cleared in 2015 fatal shooting

No charges will be forwarded to the Crown in officer-involved shooting on Vancouver Island.

The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) has issued a public report that clears the Port Hardy RCMP officer who fatally shot 24-year-old resident James Reginald Hayward.

The report concludes that “Based on a review of all of the evidence collected during the course of the investigation and the law as it applies, the interim Chief Civilian Director of the IIO does not consider that any police officer may have committed an offence under any enactment and therefore the matter will not be referred to Crown counsel for consideration of charges.”

Hayward’s family has gone on record saying they are not happy with the IIO’s decision to clear the officer, adding they feel there were many other options the RCMP member could have chosen instead of firing a gun.

It was July 8, 2015, just after 11 a.m., when the Port Hardy RCMP responded to a complaint of a man making threats towards security staff at Port Hardy Secondary School, where a staging area for a wildfire burning throughout the past week had been set up.

The man, later identified as Hayward, was allegedly wielding a knife.

According to the IIO’s report, witnesses said after being confronted by the RCMP, Hayward moved toward the police with the knife in his hand and was shot to the ground. Other witnesses said Hayward then got up and continued toward the police and was shot again and again fell.

Paramedics were then called and Hayward was pronounced dead at the scene.

Eyewitness reports from the day of the incident said the body lay out in the summer heat for more than eight hours, due to no one being able to move Hayward until the coroner authorized the removal and had gathered all the evidence needed.

The officer who fired his weapon declined to be interviewed or provide any report to the IIO, which is his right pursuant to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The full public report can be found here:

Port Hardy shooting by Ragnar Haagen on Scribd