Re­port on Sechelt man’s death ‘worse’ than mom imag­ined

Vancouver Sun - - CITY - GLENDA LUYMES AND TIF­FANY CRAW­FORD gluymes@post­media.com twit­ter.com/glen­daluymes

For two years, the of­fi­cial ver­sion of the events lead­ing to Myles Gray’s death has been vague, as have the in­juries he sus­tained in a fa­tal al­ter­ca­tion with eight Van­cou­ver po­lice of­fi­cers in a Burn­aby back­yard in the sum­mer of 2015.

A pe­ti­tion filed this week in B.C. Supreme Court by the pro­vin­cial po­lice watch­dog re­veals new in­for­ma­tion about both, in­clud­ing a list of in­juries sus­tained by the 33-year-old small busi­ness owner from Sechelt.

Ac­cord­ing to the court file, Gray suf­fered a frac­tured voice box, nasal frac­ture, dis­lo­cated jaw, a frac­tured right or­bital eye socket, a frac­tured rib, frac­tured ster­num, hem­or­rhagic in­jury to one tes­ti­cle and multi-fo­cal bruis­ing to his thigh and right arm. A cause of death has not been de­ter­mined.

“It was worse than I could have imag­ined,” Gray’s mother Margie said in an in­ter­view Thurs­day. “It’s ab­so­lutely hor­ri­fy­ing.”

Gray died on the af­ter­noon of Aug. 13, 2015, in the back­yard of a house on Jof­fre Av­enue, just east of Bound­ary Road in Burn­aby.

He had been pur­sued there from the 3600-block South East Marine Drive in Van­cou­ver by as many as six Van­cou­ver po­lice of­fi­cers, fol­low­ing a com­plaint of a “dis­traught man caus­ing a dis­tur­bance,” ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from the Van­cou­ver Po­lice Depart­ment. Ini­tial at­tempts to ar­rest him re­sulted in Gray be­com­ing “ag­i­tated.” More of­fi­cers were called, pep­per spray was used and even­tu­ally a “phys­i­cal al­ter­ca­tion” broke out.

Gray died of the in­juries sus­tained in the al­ter­ca­tion.

New de­tails from the pe­ti­tion al­lege po­lice re­ceived re­ports of Gray ha­rass­ing a wo­man by spray­ing a gar­den hose at her on South East Marine Drive. It also claims the caller re­ported the man was “ap­par­ently high on drugs and al­co­hol.”

Gray’s mother said the in­ci­dent hap­pened dur­ing a se­vere drought, when wa­ter­ing re­stric­tions were in ef­fect. She took is­sue with the caller’s as­ser­tion that her son may have been us­ing drugs or al­co­hol, say­ing she was told a tox­i­col­ogy screen came back clean. The B.C. Coro­ners Ser­vice told Post­media it was not able to re­lease in­for­ma­tion while the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion was on­go­ing.

“I don’t know what hap­pened with the wa­ter­ing wo­man, but there was noth­ing in his sys­tem,” said Margie Gray. “He was a very fit man, but he’d never been in a fight in his life.”

The pe­ti­tion was filed by the In­de­pen­dent In­ves­ti­ga­tions Of­fice of B.C. to ask an of­fi­cer who wit­nessed the event to sit for a sec­ond in­ter­view.

The pe­ti­tion al­leges Const. Harder Sa­hota, the first of­fi­cer on scene, has re­fused re­quests for a sec­ond in­ter­view.

Martin Youssef, a spokesman with IIOBC, said Wed­nes­day that the main is­sue for the po­lice watch­dog was whether a wit­ness of­fi­cer was en­ti­tled to place con­di­tions on “their duty to co-op­er­ate with an IIO in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“It’s in the pub­lic in­ter­est for the IIO to con­duct a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion and to de­ter­mine all the rel­e­vant facts and only af­ter re­ceiv­ing that can we reach con­clu­sions,” he said. “Ob­vi­ously, we’ve tried a num­ber of dif­fer­ent steps lead­ing up to this and this is a last re­sort for us.”

Youssef noted that this is the sec­ond case where the IIO has had to pe­ti­tion the court to seek co-op­er­a­tion from an of­fi­cer dur­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

In the other case, the IIO is tak­ing Van­cou­ver po­lice Chief Adam Palmer and seven of­fi­cers to court over what it con­sid­ers a lack of co­op­er­a­tion with an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the fa­tal shoot­ing of a man out­side a Cana­dian Tire store last year. Thirty-eight-year-old Daniel Peter Rin­toul died in that shootout.

Doug King, a lawyer with Pivot Le­gal So­ci­ety who is also a mem­ber of the IIO’s ex­ter­nal ad­vi­sory group, told Post­media ear­lier this year that he’s watched the re­la­tion­ship between Van­cou­ver po­lice and the watch­dog de­te­ri­o­rate for a few years. He be­lieves the turn­ing point was the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the 2014 po­lice shootout with Gerald Bat­tersby at Sci­ence World, a case where the IIO for­warded a re­port to Crown coun­sel, but no charges were ap­proved.

Margie Gray said the loss of her son has “torn our fam­ily apart.

“This sit­u­a­tion con­tin­ues to be tor­tur­ous,” she said. “Af­ter two years, we just want the truth.”

She said her son’s death has “shat­tered ev­ery be­lief sys­tem I once held.”

Myles Gray died on Aug. 13, 2015, af­ter a “phys­i­cal al­ter­ca­tion” with Van­cou­ver po­lice of­fi­cers.

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