At the public hearing into the the death of Jeff Berg at the hands of Vancouver police Department Cst. David Bruce-Thomas in October of 2000, Commission Counsel Dana Urban, Q.C. characterized the VPD’s internal investigation as “incompetent at best”. He also accused the internal investigators of ignoring a key independent civilian eyewitness and dissuading others from testifying at the hearing.

Urban said that the accounts of three civilian eyewitnesses indicated that Jeff Berg had surrendered to the police and was standing quietly when Bruce-Thomas hit him in the head or neck with his handgun and knocked him to the ground. He was then kicked in the head three times. According to Urban, expert evidence suggests that Berg was clinically dead, and therefore not resisting, when the kicks landed on his head. The pathologist’s report of the autopsy states that Berg died of a blow to the neck and had bruises and lacerations to his head and a severely bruised testicle.

Urban made his remarks at a case management conference where Berg family lawyer Cameron Ward was seeking standing to cross-examine witnesses and obtain disclosure of police reports related to the incident. Urban supported the application, to the dismay of police lawyer Bill Smart, Q.C.

After reviewing the “incompetent” internal investigation report, Crown Counsel decided not to lay any charges against Cst. Bruce-Thomas. Remarkably, although a coroner’s inquest is mandatory in this case of an in-custody police homicide, one has not been scheduled yet.

Meanwhile, Jeff Berg’s sister Julie and the rest of her family still wait for answers.