British Columbia

'Intense, incredible sadness': Family marks 4 years since Myles Gray died in run-in with VPD

Myles Gray would have turned 37 this winter. But he died in an encounter with Vancouver police four year ago, and today his grieving family is still in the dark about what caused his grisly injuries.

IIO has wrapped its investigation but there's still no word on whether police will face charges

Myles Gray was unarmed when he died on Aug. 13, 2015. (Margie Gray)

Myles Gray would have turned 37 this winter. But he died in an encounter with Vancouver police four years ago, and today his grieving family is still in the dark about what caused his grisly injuries.

The 33-year-old Sechelt businessman was unarmed when he died on Aug. 13, 2015. The only known witnesses to what happened were police officers, and no surveillance footage has been found.

There's still no word on whether anyone will be charged in connection with Gray's death. The province's police watchdog, the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) believes police may have committed an offence, but it's up to Crown to decide if charges will be laid.

Gray's mother Margie said it's difficult to escape her grief when there's no resolution to the case.

"That intense, incredible sadness, it just doesn't leave you," she told CBC.

"It's really hard to heal when this legal system keeps bringing you back to day one. You still have no name, you still have no accountability, still have no civilian witnesses."

Multiple broken bones

What we know is that Myles Gray had a violent run-in with Vancouver police after officers were called to an address on Southeast Marine Drive to investigate reports that a man was spraying a woman with a garden hose.

The fatal struggle took place in the backyard of a home on Joffre Avenue in Burnaby.

An autopsy would later reveal that Gray suffered injuries including a "fractured voice box; nasal fracture; dislocated jaw; fractured right orbital eye socket; fractured posterior right third rib; fractured sternum; hemorrhagic injury of one testicle; multi-focal bruising to thigh and right arm," according to court documents.

As B.C.'s independent police watchdog, the IIO was called in to investigate, but their probe was stymied for months by a disagreement with the officers involved over their duty to cooperate.

Myles Gray is shown shortly before his August 2015 death. (Margie Gray)

A constable who witnessed the altercation refused numerous requests to sit for a second interview, and the IIO ended up petitioning the court for an order compelling her to comply.

Since then, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has clarified the rules, writing that Vancouver police had been operating under a "misapprehension" of their legal duties and have an obligation to cooperate fully.

In January, the IIO finally wrapped up its investigation into Myles Gray's death after 41 months, and passed the file to the B.C. Prosecution Service.

Seven months later, Crown is still considering whether to charge the officers involved, and a spokesperson declined to give an update on that process when contacted by CBC.

'We're still all in the dark'

Margie Gray said she has no sense of when there will be a decision.

"The cumulative effect of the last four years is essentially that one box of files has gone from one office to another office. That's it. And we're still all in the dark," she said.

The family doesn't even have documents outlining the full results of the autopsy, or a report from the coroner.

"We don't have any files. We have nothing," she said.

Myles Gray loved sports and sports memorabilia, like the Toronto Raptors jacket in this childhood photo. (Margie Gray)

These days, it's hard not to think about what her son is missing.

Myles Gray loved sports, but he missed the Toronto Raptors' historic championship win this year. In these warm summer days, he's missing out on hanging out with friends at the beach.

"He's missing out on so much of our lives — so much of his life, so much of our lives," Margie Gray said.

As the process drags on, she's still holding out hope that there are non-police witnesses to her son's death who haven't come forward.

"If there are, we would sure love for them to stand up and say something," Gray said.

A Vancouver police spokesperson declined to comment for this story.

About the Author

Bethany Lindsay

Journalist

Bethany Lindsay has more than a decade of experience in B.C. journalism, with a focus on the courts, health and social justice issues. She has also reported on human rights and crimes against humanity in Cambodia. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.

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