It’s been a gruelling week for the family of James Hayward as they sit through testimony detailing the police shooting that killed him on a Port Hardy street in July 2015.
“It’s been extremely difficult just to finally put a face to the cop that took James from us,” said his step-mother Jessica Egan.
That officer has now been identified as Sgt. Everett McLachlan, currently working with the Nanaimo RCMP.
James was 24 years old at the time and had previously served a sentence at the Wilkinson Road jail where he was diagnosed with a mental illness, though the exact illness was never determined.
He was put on medication that had run out days before he was killed. On the morning of July 8, he had an altercation with security at Port Hardy Secondary School before police were called and encountered him not far away on Granville Street.
He was acting erratically as he approached them with a knife and he was shot five times.
“There are conflicting reports,” said his aunt, Nora Hayward. “They are varied, two witnesses state though that he was shot while he was in a supine position when he was lying down on his back on the ground. She testified that James went down after the first burst of shots and that the second burst of shots occurred as James laid on the pavement.”
“Broke my heart, and we heard there was a taser on the scene and there was no taser being used, there was nothing. It was just, it was 48 seconds I believe from the time the cops rolled up on the scene to James being dead on the ground,” said Egan.
The inquest has heard that McLachlan and another officer at the scene provided no medical attention to James as they are trained to do.
The inquest also heard that McLachlan did not have required Crisis Intervention and de-escalation training. He admitted to the inquest that four years later, he still has not completed it.
“So I believe that he does not care what he has done, he does not feel guilty for it and I honestly don’t think he should be on the streets anymore,” said James’s sister Vanessa Hayward.
The inquest is expected to conclude with recommendations from the five-person jury next week.