Public inquest to be held into death of Myles Gray in run-in with Vancouver police
33-year-old Sechelt man was unarmed when he was killed during 2015 encounter with several VPD officers
A coroner's inquest has been scheduled into the death of Myles Gray, more than seven years after the B.C. man was killed during an encounter with as many as nine Vancouver police officers.
The public inquiry will begin on April 17, and will set out to answer the enduring question of exactly how Gray died, and whether anything could be done to prevent others from dying in the same way, according to a B.C. government press release.
Gray was unarmed when he died in a Burnaby, B.C., backyard on Aug. 13, 2015. The 33-year-old was making a delivery for his Sechelt-based florist business when police were called after he confronted a South Vancouver homeowner for watering her lawn during that summer's extended drought.
Officers restrained Gray's arms and legs, punched, kicked and kneed him, pepper-sprayed him and struck him with a baton, according to a report from the B.C. Prosecution Service.
His list of injuries — including a fractured voice box, several broken bones and a ruptured testicle — was so extensive that forensic experts have never been able to pinpoint a cause of death.
The Independent Investigations Office investigated Gray's death and forwarded a report to Crown in the belief the officers may have committed a crime.
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But in December 2020, the B.C. Prosecution Service announced that none of the officers would be criminally charged, in part because of the lack of witnesses and uncertainty surrounding the cause of death.
Once the Crown declined to bring charges, the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner restarted an investigation into whether the officers violated the Police Act. That process has now been underway for two years.
Deputy police complaint commissioner Andrea Spindler told CBC she anticipates the investigation is nearing its end, but it has been necessary to ask for a number of additional investigative steps throughout the process.
"This investigation is broader than that completed by the Independent Investigations Office ... as the scope of the investigation includes not only the conduct of the officers as it relates to the use of force but also subsequent actions by the officers following the incident around documentation, cooperation and other matters," Spindler wrote in an email.