The BC Civil Rights Association has formally complained about public statements of the RCMP following their violent arrest of Buddy Tavares. The Kelowna man was kicked in the face by Cst. Geoff Mantler even though Tavares was on his hands and knees, unarmed and not resisting. At least four other officers were with Mantler at the scene. The detainee posed no threat so Mantler’s kick to the face of his victim was undeniably gratuitous; it resulted in a potentially serious eye injury.
Tavares was jailed, Mantler returned to work but, as video of the assault went viral, he was transferred to administrative duties and later suspended with pay by E Division HQ. The junior constable is also under investigation for an earlier assault on a person in custody. In that, a man repossessing a boat on behalf of his employer was accused by the debtor of having stolen it. RCMP stopped Jeremy Packer as he towed the boat to Tru Northwest RV, Auto, & Marine Ltd. and beat him during the arrest. Packer says he did not resist and he was not charged with any offense.
At a news briefing following Tavares’ arrest, Superintendent Bill McKinnon stated the man was jailed because of a domestic violence investigation, part of a golf course incident that resulted in police accusing him of careless use of a firearm. However, both Tavares and his ex-wife deny any domestic dispute was involved and said that Tavares ordinarily used a shotgun with blank shells as part of his bird control duties at the closed course. McKinnon refused to provide additional details.
BCCLA spokesman David Eby, comparing the RCMP response to disingenuous statements following Robert Dziekanski’s death, told Global News,
“Mr. Tavares is subject of a video tape that looks very bad on the RCMP but if they release information that he has domestic assault issues, then it makes the RCMP look a little bit better in these circumstances.”
Eby wrote in a letter to the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP:
“Casting aspersion on any person complaining about RCMP members could easily be seen to be a form of retribution for filing a complaint, or as a character smearing engaged in to improve public perceptions of the police version of events.”
David Eby, by the way, understands retribution for offending police. Riding his bike recently, he observed two VPD members “poking around” a truck/camper in East Vancouver. Assuming a truck dwelling homeless person was about to be hassled, Eby stopped to observe. That apparently raised the ire of police. Result: a $100 ticket for missing a bell on his bicycle.
Kelowna RCMP refused to respond when Global TV reporter Blaine Gaffney raised the BCCLA complaint, asking
“But, you not going to respond to allegations about unfairly sullying his reputation or perhaps an act of retribution or anything like that?”
Today, I raise no complaint about Global’s news content but, were I inclined to be a Grammar Nazi, I might bother about Gaffney saying “Casting aspirations on any person complaining about RCMP members . . .” instead of “Casting aspersions . . .” and I would mention the title card that misspelled ‘Commission’. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.