TYSON WHITNEY PHOTO Friends and family of James Reginald Hayward stand behind his memorial bench on the three-year anniversary of his death, which is just mere feet from where he was shot and killed by a Port Hardy RCMP officer.

VIDEO: Memorial bench unveiled for Vancouver Island man killed by police

James Hayward was shot by police in Port Hardy after refusing to drop a large knife in 2015

Three years after his death, the James Reginald Hayward memorial bench was officially unveiled in front of a large crowd of friends and family, just mere feet from where he was shot and killed by a Port Hardy RCMP officer.

James’ family had asked the District of Port Hardy for the memorial to be erected back in November of 2017, which the district graciously approved.

Port Hardy Mayor Hank Bood went on record with the Gazette back in November, saying he was “happy that we found a respectful way to remember James, which is a good thing.”

James’s aunt, Nora Hayward, said she thinks her family is happy with the memorial. “The bench is wonderful, it’s in a prominent place, and it’s right across from where the accident happened.”

READ MORE: Hayward’s family still looking for answers

Nora noted she started a Gofundme page to raise money for the memorial plaque to be put on the bench, stating the funds were quickly raised within 24 hours. “I want this to remind people of what happened,” she said, adding, “I want this to be a place where people can go and remember James and think about James, and to remember that things like this don’t need to happen.”

In a previous interview with the Gazette, Nora stated James had a criminal record (his criminal record includes convictions for assault, unlawful confinement, break-and-enter and robbery) and that he had told her he was bi-polar, but had stopped taking medication after getting out of jail.

READ MORE: Memorial bench approved for James Hayward

Nora added James was only 24-years-old and was “just starting out in life — he’d just started talking about having children, and it’s sad. He was trying to get his mental health issues dealt with properly.”

“That’s one of the main reasons I’m trying to fight so hard,” she added. “Not just to remember James as he was and for what he was, but to stop this from happening again.”

In July of 2015, James was confronted by the Port Hardy RCMP approximately 300 metres away from the Port Hardy Secondary School track. James moved towards the police with a large knife in his hand and was shot to the ground.

Witnesses said he then got up and continued toward the police and was shot again and again fell, this time not getting back up. He was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. An autopsy was conducted on July 13, 2015. The pathologist found that there were five entrance wounds, two complete exit wounds and one partial exit wound on his body. There was no drugs or alcohol found in his system.

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 had authorized the removal after gathering all the evidence needed.

READ MORE: RCMP officers cleared in 2015 fatal shooting

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

The IIO cleared the Port Hardy RCMP officer of any wrongdoing on July 26, 2017.

Marten Youssef, Acting Director, Public Engagement & Policy for the IIO, confirmed that after the IIO had reviewed all of the evidence collected, “We came to the conclusion there clearly was an action creating a threat to the officers,” which ultimately meant the matter would not be referred to Crown counsel for consideration of charges.

A coroner’s inquest has been granted and will be held sometime in Spring of 2019. Inquests are formal court proceedings, with a five-person jury, held to publicly review the circumstances of a death. The jury hears evidence from witnesses under subpoena in order to determine the facts of the death. The presiding coroner is responsible to ensure the jury maintains the goal of fact finding, not fault finding.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

VicPD notify public of sexual assault with weapon in Esquimalt

Officers ask residents to be vigilant while investigation continues

VIATEC’s 2018 “Startup of the Year” heads to Vegas for global spotlight

Victoria-based boat security company Barnacle Systems set for Consumer Electronics Show

Man dies after fall from Johnson Street Bridge

Man climbed railing of the Johnson Street Bridge, lost his balance and fell into the water below

Surprise coming to elderly Esquimalt woman who had $1,100 stolen from purse

Man had bumped into her while she was shopping, next thing she knew, the money was gone

Mommy’s Inside Voice: Santa is real

The holidays are a truly magical time of year

Langford elementary school kids test their hand at entrepreneurship

Students sold their own products at a Young Entrepreneurs Fair Friday

POLL: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

The rain Vancouver Island is famous for is coming down in buckets,… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 11, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

‘Ghost bikes’ installed to remember teen cyclists who died in Port Alberni

Cycle Alberni installs memorials to remember teens, remind all about road safety

Most Read