B.C. police watchdog investigates Vancouver officers' use of force in arrest of man

·2 min read

VANCOUVER — B.C.'s police complaint commissioner will proceed with a disciplinary-conduct investigation into the actions of seven Vancouver officers involved in the arrest of a man who died five years ago.

The B.C. Prosecution Service said Wednesday the injuries suffered by Myles Gray during his arrest in August 2015 included a broken eye socket, a possible partially dislocated jaw and a voice box fracture.

It said none of the officers involved in the arrest would be charged because it could not prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that any offence was committed.

A statement from police complaint commissioner Clayton Pecknold says the decision not to lay charges allows his office to examine the case, which isn't restricted to evidence gathered during the criminal investigation.

It says the officers may be compelled to provide statements, answer questions and otherwise account for their actions during the arrest.

The statement says the office is aware of the length of time the criminal investigation took and its impact on Gray's family, and it will be asking for prompt disclosure of previous investigations.

"This will ensure all of the actions of the officers are fully examined independently of government and the Vancouver Police Department," the statement says.

Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe released a statement Thursday saying the coroner's investigation into Gray's death is ongoing.

Vancouver police spokeswoman Tania Visintin said in a statement on Wednesday that the incident is a tragic situation for everyone involved and the department respects the Crown's decision.

The prosecution service's statement this week said the only witnesses to the arrest were police officers.

A caller to police on the afternoon of Aug. 13, 2015, described Gray as agitated and disturbed.

The service said within 20 minutes of the first officers arriving, Gray was unconscious, restrained with hand and leg restraints and "suffering obvious injuries."

He went into cardiac arrest and was declared dead less than an hour later, the prosecution service said.

An autopsy could not determine the exact cause of death.

The Independent Investigations Office looked at the actions of the officers and submitted a report to Crown counsel for consideration of charges.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 17, 2020.

The Canadian Press