5 years after Myles Gray's death, prosecutors decide not to charge police
VANCOUVER -- Five years after Myles Gray died during a struggle with Vancouver police, prosecutors have decided not to approve charges against any of the officers involved.
On Wednesday, the B.C. Prosecution Service announced the evidence available in the case does not meet its charge assessment standard.
The only witnesses to the violent encounter were the seven attending members of the Vancouver Police Department, and the BCPS noted that they provided "incomplete and, in several respects, inconsistent accounts of the detail and sequence of events" leading up to Gray's death.
"The contradictions between the officers' accounts in key areas are incapable of resolution such that it is difficult to determine a coherent narrative," the service said in a statement.
One witness officer also refused to provide a follow-up interview to investigators with B.C.'s police watchdog, which was forced to file a court petition compelling her co-operation.
Learning the outcome of the arduous, years-long investigation into Gray's death left his still-grieving family devastated.
"It is a travesty of justice that nobody is being held accountable," his mom, Margie Reed, said Wednesday.
"This happened to our family member, it could happen to anyone's family member."
Gray's altercation with police began after the 33-year-old apparently took a garden hose and sprayed a woman with water on Southeast Marine Drive on the afternoon of Aug. 13, 2015.
Gray was in the area making a delivery for his Sechelt floral business.
The woman's son called 911, and the responding officer decided to request backup after Gray allegedly became agitated, according to the BCPS's report.
All of the seven officers who eventually responded said that Gray, who had no criminal record or history of mental illness, resisted arrest. He suffered an array of injuries before going into cardiac arrest while unconscious, handcuffed and hobbled – meaning his ankles were strapped together.
His injuries included "bruising to the body and extremities, bruising and lacerations to the face, an orbital bone fracture, nose fracture, possible partial dislocated jaw, a minor brain bleed, throat cartilage fracture, rib fracture, and bilateral testicular hemorrhage," according to the BCPS's statement, which also notes that "none of these injuries would have been fatal in itself."
The Crown said officers punched Gray in the head, and used their batons on him after he was hobbled. He was also pepper-sprayed during the altercation.
In their statement, prosecutors also revealed for the first time that Gray had the drug commonly known as kratom – a plant-based substance that can act as a stimulant – in his system at the time. Kratom is sometimes sold as an alternative medicine, used to treat conditions such as chronic pain, but products containing the drug are not authorized for sale in Canada.
An autopsy was ultimately unable to determine an individual cause of death, but found it probable that Gray died from a number of different factors, which could have included his various injuries from police, the kratom in his system, the fact that he had a slightly enlarged heart, and the effects of the pepper spray on his respiratory system.
Authorities previously said six officers were injured during the altercation, but the BCPS described their injuries as minor.
"They walk away," said Gray's father, Mark Gray. "It's not right. Who beats someone like that?"
B.C.'s Independent Investigations Office spent years trying to get to the bottom of what happened that night before completing its investigation in 2019 and forwarding a report to the Crown.
The police watchdog only refers cases to prosecutors when it believes there is a reasonable basis for charges.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Maria Weisgarber