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Forcible restraint by police among factors in Myles Gray death, pathologist says

April 27, 2023  By The Canadian Press

Apr. 27, 2023, Burnaby, B.C. – A forensic pathologist says a “perfect storm” of factors led to Myles Gray’s death, including his extreme exertion and the Vancouver police actions to restrain him.

Dr. Matthew Orde told the coroner’s inquest into Gray’s death that descriptions of the 33-year-old suggest he’d been experiencing an acute behavioural disturbance, and his body would have been working in overdrive as he struggled with police.

Orde testified that Gray’s heart would have been pumping rapidly and he would have been breathing heavily as several police officers forced him into a prone position, lying on his stomach, with his arms handcuffed behind his back.

He said people who are forcibly restrained in that position are at greater risk of death, especially when someone’s body has increased demands.


Orde, who performed an autopsy in the days after Gray died in August 2015, said the man also sustained multiple blunt force injuries to his face and body, and some kind of “neck hold” likely explains a fracture in the man’s voice box.

He concluded that Gray died as a result of cardiac arrest, complicated by police actions that included forcing him onto his stomach, neck compression, handcuffing him behind his back, the use of pepper spray and multiple blunt force injuries.

While none of the physical injuries alone provide a good explanation as to why Gray died, Orde testified that autopsies cannot assess potential physiological factors, which are key to understanding Gray’s death.

“In the context of someone who’s extremely fatigued, (whose) body is fully ramped up, I think these issues would be enough to tip him over the edge,” Orde said.

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