The BC Prosecution Service will not be approving charges against any police officers involved in the 2015 death of Myles Gray.
Gray’s family told Global News about the new development on Wednesday, adding the prosecution service did not provide an explanation for their decision.
Gray died from a litany of injuries suffered during the encounter with Vancouver police officers, including a fractured voice box, a broken nose, eye socket, and sternum, and a ruptured testicle.
In a statement Wednesday, the prosecution service said while Gray was being restrained he went into cardiac arrest and died. “The forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy could not determine the specific cause of death.”
The encounter that ended Gray’s life remains shrouded in mystery as the only witnesses were the seven attending members of the Vancouver police. In a statement, the prosecution service said it could not prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the officers committed any offence in relation to the incident.
The altercation began with a rather benign complaint to police about a man spraying a woman with a garden hose in a residential area on Southeast Marine Drive in Vancouver.
The responding officers, some of whom were also hospitalized for injuries they received in the encounter with Gray, became the focus of an arduous and lengthy investigation by the province’s police watchdog — the Independent Investigations Office of BC — that was hindered by a lack of co-operation from some of the officers.
The watchdog had filed a report to the BC Prosecution Service for the consideration of charges in January 2019.
The service notes in its report of the incident that in relation to the injuries sustained by the officers, one was punched in the left side of his face and had a small cut under his chin. However, it is not stated who punched him. In addition, another officer did have a five-centimetre laceration to his forehead, apparently caused by a low-hanging tree branch.
“While all officers describe Mr. Gray as resisting and offering a threat to the officers present, accounts of what he and the officers actually did at each stage of the encounter vary considerably,” the report notes. “With limited exceptions, the officers present have spoken only to their own use of force, without describing the actions of others.”
The prosecution service did find that the officers used “pepper spray; repeated baton strikes to the legs and lower body; neck and head restraint; foot, knee, and closed fist strikes to the back, and upper body; and closed fist strikes to the head and face” during a 10-minute period.
The report notes that the officers’ accounts as to the degree of the resistance and threat Gray presented are inconsistent, however, all say he was resisting and not compliant with handcuffing.
The Vancouver police have not released a statement on the findings, only telling Global News: “This has been a tough, tragic situation for everyone involved. We respect the decision from Crown counsel and don’t have anything further to add at this point.”