The Myles Gray decision

Vancouver police demonstrate the need for body cameras.
And seven more cops prove themselves unfit for duty

December 16, 2020


Myles Gray’s mother said it much earlier, the B.C. Prosecution Service unwittingly affirmed it and seven Vancouver police officers made it deadly clear: Cops must wear body cameras because cops’ uncorroborated statements aren’t worth shit.

As a result of seven VPD officers who apparently gave wildly divergent accounts of what they did during an exceptionally severe beat-down, the issue of body cameras should now get some much-deserved public attention. All seven cops got off without charges because all seven cops gave completely different accounts of how at least some of them smashed the living fuck out of a guy using fists, knees, boots, truncheons, a chokehold and mace. Suffering numerous serious injuries while his hands and feet were hobbled, he died shortly thereafter.

As the Crown stated, “In many respects, the contradictions between officers’ accounts in key areas are incapable of resolution such that it is difficult to determine a coherent narrative of events between 15:18 and 15:28 with any reasonable degree of confidence.”

There were no independent witnesses. None of the cops, not one out of seven, made notes. (Or so they said.) VPD constable Hardeep Sahota refused to attend a second interview with B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office until the IIO requested a court order. The Crown’s decision to let the cops off came more than five years after the August 2015 outrage.

So we’ll probably hear some talk about body cameras. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll be instituted.

But these seven cops pose other problems too. They’re obviously unsuited for physical confrontation of any kind and unfit to give evidence on any matter. These two enormous liabilities rule out their suitability for police work.

All seven should be fired. But that won’t happen. Nor will they face inquiries into previous incidents in which they applied force or gave evidence.

The Crown’s decision also gives cops a new strategy to evade prosecution. All they have to do is bamboozle investigators with conflicting accounts—then carry on as before.

Update: On December 17 B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner announced that a Police Act investigation (distinct from a criminal investigation) into the seven cops will re-open to “examine all of the actions of the officers.” Police Act investigations and their outcomes normally take place in secret, although prior publicity might encourage the OPCC to release info about this case. However penalties under the Police Act, when they’re handed out, tend to be very minor considering the infractions. The legislation consistently proves itself inadequate to address police misconduct.

Download the B.C. Prosecution Service statement.

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