IIO files report on Myles Gray death for consideration of charges
Published Wednesday, January 16, 2019 10:14AM PST Last Updated Wednesday, January 16, 2019 7:15PM PST
Four years after Myles Gray died during a struggle with Vancouver police, the Independent Investigations Office has submitted a report to Crown prosecutors for consideration of charges.
The police watchdog announced Wednesday it has completed its review of Gray's death and filed its findings to the B.C. Prosecution Service, which will determine if charges are warranted and likely to result in a conviction.
Gray died in August 2015, following an altercation with seven police officers. The 33-year-old Sechelt man, who owned a floral business, had no criminal record or history of mental illness.
A petition filed in B.C. Supreme Court by the IIO in 2017 said police first got a call about a man spraying a garden hose at a woman on Southeast Marine Drive in Vancouver.
According to the documents, the responding officer reported having an aggressive confrontation and called for backup.
Things came to a head not far away in a backyard garden in the 8300 block of Joffre Avenue in Burnaby where Gray died after suffering multiple fractures, a dislocated jaw and other injuries.
Police said six officers were injured as they tried to make an arrest. The petition notes there we no independent witnesses to the altercation.
Few other details have been made public about what is alleged to have happened that day.
A release from the IIO issued a year after his death said new information suggested Gray may have been trying to speak to occupants of passing vehicles just before he died.
"We refer cases where I make a decision that there's reasonable basis to believe charges are supported by the evidence," said the IIO's Chief Civilian Director, Ron MacDonald. "However, it's not our decision to decide what charges should be laid. That is entirely up to the Crown."
Gray's mother hopes to see charges laid in the case.
"There's no answers good enough. It doesn't matter what the answer's going to be. My son is never walking through my door again. Ever," Margie Gray told CTV News.
Speaking to CTV News following the update, Margie said she's been in contact with MacDonald since early this month.
A team from the IIO visited her family on the Sunshine Coast Tuesday to tell them MacDonald had made a decision.
"It's been a very hellish three years, five months, and I guess today, three days," Margie Gray said.
"It was a relief to know that this part is finally over and that it is moving forward to Crown."
She says her son was not a violent person. As the matter is still under investigation, officials have not yet provided any information on exactly what happened during the altercation.
"Myles didn't have a violent bone in his body," she said. "He was a kind, good-hearted person."
Describing the process as torturous, she said it's been difficult for the family to move forward because they keep having to hear about it as the investigation drags on.
"Myles has died, he's no longer present in our lives, and that's hard enough to deal with," Margie said.
"You don't get a break from it. It's always present, always present, always present."
She said she never expected the investigation to take as long as it did.
The IIO did not provide further information about the events of Aug. 13 on Wednesday, nor did it outline what charges, if any, the officers involved could face.
It did, however, address the length of the investigation. In a statement, the IIO said the amount of time spent looking into the case related to a number of aspects including "a difference of opinion" with a witness officer regarding their duty to co-operate in a second interview.
The IIO brought the matter to court, but its application was withdrawn and the matter was resolved.
Additional forensic pathology resources were brought in last year to aid in the investigation.
The independent civilian oversight agency is called to investigate any officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, regardless of if there are any allegations of wrongdoing.
After an investigation, the chief civilian director of the IIO must report the matter to Crown counsel if they believe an officer may have committed an offence.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Maria Weisgarber