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Inquest into death of former Powell River resident to be held

BC Coroners Service to hold mandatory investigation into encounter between Myles Gray and the Vancouver Police Department
Myles Gray 2022
PUBLIC INQUIRY: Former Powell River resident Myles Gray died during an altercation with Vancouver Police Department on August 13, 2015, and an inquest into his death has finally been scheduled.

A public inquest into the death of Myles Thomas Gray will begin on April 17 at 9:30 am at the Burnaby Coroners’ Court.

Gray, a 33-year-old Sechelt businessman, died in Burnaby on August 13, 2015, after an encounter with members of the Vancouver Police Department (VPD). Gray, who was born and raised in Powell River, suffered extensive injuries in the case.

According to an account in the Coast Reporter newspaper on August 12, 2019, Gray was making deliveries for his landscape business near southeast Marine Drive and Joffre Avenue in Vancouver when VPD responded to a call about a man spraying a woman with a garden hose.

At some point after police arrived there was an altercation between Gray and several officers on the scene that resulted in fatal injuries to Gray.

Gray’s mother Margie was incensed that she first heard about the inquest from the Peak.

“I found about the inquest from you in Powell River,” said Margie. “None of my family even know about it. This is how I find out?

“This is what we’ve dealt with for the past going-on-eight-years. There is absolutely zero consideration for our family. None. It is absolutely appalling. I am furious.”

Margie said inactions of the BC Coroners Service are absolutely inconsiderate and this is what she has been dealing with in terms of her interactions with the various authorities involved with her son’s death.

“There is no regard for the family,” said Margie. “Dealing with them is traumatic. Dealing with all of these government institutions has been extremely traumatizing for me and my family."

Margie said she is not participating in this inquest.

“I’m not about to kill myself off listening to eight police,” said Margie. “What do you think they are going to say? They manufactured their story.”

Margie said she went to the inquest of Tony Du, who also died in an incident with VPD, to support his family.

“I was sick for three months,” said Margie. “It was the most disgusting thing. It was appalling. It was horrific and entirely disrespectful.

“Myles’ inquest is just going to be horror, nightmares and lies. Do you think anyone is going to stand up and tell the truth? They don’t want to say Myles’ name. They want him to disappear.”

Margie said Myles’ death was traumatizing but dealing with the government bureaucracy has been traumatizing as well.

“They don’t care about the family,” said Margie. “They are all so inconsiderate. It’s a travesty.

“The inquest is just another bureaucratic process to make it appear to the public that the coroner’s office has done something.”

Margie said the family launched a civil suit in the very beginning but it has been ignored and dismissed. She said no court action has been booked.

Margie said what eight police officers did to Myles is insane.

“There’s no other word for it,” she added.

Public inquiry

According to a media release from the BC Coroners Service, the death of Gray was reported to the coroners service by the VPD on August 13, 2015.

The release stated that under section 18(2) of the Coroners Act, inquests are mandatory for any deaths that occur while a person was detained by or in the custody of a peace officer.

A coroner’s inquest is a public inquiry that serves three primary functions. One is to determine the facts related to a death, including the identity of the deceased and how, when, where and by what means the individual came to their death, as well as a classification for the death.

The inquest is also directed to make recommendations, where appropriate, and supported by evidence, to prevent deaths in similar circumstances. The third component is to ensure public confidence that the circumstances surrounding the death of an individual will not be overlooked, concealed or ignored.

The release stated that Larry Marzinzik, presiding coroner, and a jury, will hear evidence from witnesses under oath to determine the facts surrounding this death. The jury will have the opportunity to make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances. A jury must not make any finding of legal responsibility or express any conclusion of law.

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