What is the basis for a claim of misusing a firearm?
- He had a permit, he had a job, he shot it 3 times at his workplace, I don't see any manager from the golf course saying this was an "unexpected" or "unacceptable" discharge of a firearm.
- The video shows his ex-wife with him. She makes it very clear there was no "domestic violence". So what is the basis of a domestic violence charge?
What outrages me is that:
- Buddy Tavares was viciously kicked for no reason. And the police really haven't acknowledged that. They are "we are investigating" mode. What is there to investigate when you have a video that shows the whole incident?
- He was held for 3 days in jail before they brought he before a judge who then set a court date. Why the judge -- who should have looked at the video! -- didn't throw out the charge and immediately give the RCMP a tongue lashing is beyond me. Worse, the judge is letting the idea of "domestic violence" ride for the month of so until a court date. Why? On what basis is there a charge? The ex-wife was there and on video saying "no domestic violence". Is the judicial system so brain dead that it refuses to acknowledge fact? It will punish a guy with jail on the basis of a charge that morphs over time and which has no basis in fact. Bizarre! All I see is taxpayer dollars going down the tube to go through legal mumbo-jumbo before the obvious facts are finally acknowledged. Now I understand the need for an effective and rigorous judicial system. But the legal system must have prima facie "justice" to it. To hold a guy who was clearly assaulted by the RCMP on a charge where he wife is there saying "where did this charge come from?" should have immediately thrown the case out. Who made the charge. That person should be in jail and paying for expensive lawyers. Not Buddy Tavares!
This updates my previous post More RCMP Violence.
Update 2011jan16: Protests and civic pressure finally get the RCMP to move. From a report on Global TV. I've bolded the key bit:
Police are recommending that a Mountie be charged with assault causing bodily harm after the arrest of a man in Kelowna was caught on video.Here is an interview with Buddy Tavares talking about using a shotgun on the golf course. This interview was posted on www.castanet.net with the comment "Extensive interview with Buddy Tavares, the Kelowna man kicked in the face by a Kelowna RCMP officer during an arrest. (Video-Kelly Hayes)". I picked this up from Straight.com:
Police from the community of Abbotsford, B.C. were brought in to conduct a review following the arrest of Buddy Tavares, 51, on Jan. 7.
A recording of the arrest appeared to show an officer kicking Tavares in the head.
The announcement Sunday that the Mountie be charged came just before a planned protest in Kelowna over the incident.
"When police violence against a compliant and non-violent citizen occurs, the public needs to know that strong and swift action will be taken," said New Democrat public safety critic Don Davies, who is also the Vancouver Kingsway member of Parliament. "Until RCMP oversight is strengthened, public confidence in the RCMP will continue to erode."
"The incident in Kelowna should be a wake-up call to the government that they have dragged their feet for too-long on RCMP reform," said Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen.
"The government has known for years that the system is broken, but even their own meagre reform bill is stalled in Parliament because they refuse to bring it forward for debate."
I especially enjoy the bit at 13:15 where he is asked for his opinion about the RCMP. Buddy Tavares shows himself to be gracious and wise in his assessment. His bottom line: there is good and bad in everything. He says "if there is a bad apple you don't throw out the whole box". I must confess that in my emotional reaction I was willing to call for tossing out the whole box. Buddy shows a great deal more equanimity than I have. He is more forgiving than I am. He strikes me as a really decent person. He strikes me as a very, very honest guy. It is pretty clear he isn't going to "forgive" the RCMP for assaulting him. You can see the emotion in his face. He wants to be a "good" person, but you can tell that hate wells up when he is asked about "forgiveness". It is a tragedy that he was the victim of this crime. He is obviously struggling with its consequences.
Update 2010jan18It is interesting to note that the Abbotsford police was called in to review the Kelowna RCMP to look into the possibility of charging Geoff Mantler with assault. This is especially curious because of the following video showing the behaviour of Abbotsford police a year ago. This video is from Global TV BC and is dated October 21, 2009:
The Abbotsford police did recommend assault charges. But they did that just shortly before a large demonstration was to start in Kelowna. Those who are cynical might think there is a connection in the timing. It is just too convenient that the decision to charge Geoff Mantler "happened" shortly before the demonstration and just "happened" to cool down the ardor of the demonstrators.
The cynical might also be excused for wondering about the capability of the Abbotsford police to "judge" the behaviour of the Kelowna police. Both police forces belong to the RCMP. It is the old story of the RCMP "investigating itself". That is a problem. There will be public confidence in the police only when there is an independent police complaints organization that will review the police without a tendency to let "sympathy for fellow RCMP officers" cloud their judgement. The public deserves a true, honest independent investigation of police brutality charges.
Update 2011jan20: Here is a video of the demonstration held in Kelowna with the accompanying news story:
We live in a society with the supposed right to free speech and assembly. But the RCMP tried to squelch the above demonstration by spreading fear that the protest would become violent. (Here is the Global TV report.) What? You have a right to assemble except if you try to assemble citizens then the police put out reports of "violence" and scare people off? What kind of "right" is that? I accept that the police have a duty to ensure peace, but rather than scare off demonstrators, if they had a serious concern, then bring in whatever extra police are needed. Don't put out false statements that undermine democracy!
As for Geoff Mantler... Another victim of assault by constable Geoff Mantler has now come forward, Jeremy Packer. Here is his story on the local Okanagan Global TV station (and also covered by the Vancouver Sun):
Jeremy Packer says he was punched repeatedly by a Kelowna RCMP officer on August 10, 2010.It is clear that Geoff Mantler is a bully in uniform. He has a repeated pattern of beating people he arrests. He should be thrown off the police force, he should be forced to give back the pay he received while "on administrative leave", and he should be arrested for assault and the charges vigorously pursued by the local prosecutor.
CHBC News has now learned the name of that officer: Constable Geoff Mantler, who was caught on tape kicking Buddy Tavares in the head earlier this month.
Packer, who was working for Tru North Marine, was towing a boat across the Bennett Bridge when he was stopped by police.
RCMP had received a complaint Packer was stealing the boat, but he says he was re-possessing it for non-payment of a repair bill.
He says the police had their guns draw and told him to put his hands up in the air.
Packer complains Mantler then ripped the door open, pulled him out of the truck and down to the ground and punched him several times in the face.
Packer says he did not resist arrest and was not attempting to flee.
He filed a formal complaint against the RCMP in November about the incident.
2011feb16: There was news about Buddy Tavares today. The charges will be dropped if he "plays along" and gives up his gun for a year. It is obvious this is a "face saving" maneuver by the RCMP. Meanwhile Tavares is going after them with a big lawsuit. It is going to cost you and I a bunch of tax dollars, but the only way the RCMP is going to be forced to raise standards so that innocent citizens aren't kicked in the face is by the courts to give Tavares a whole whack of cash. That's an idiotic way to "fix the system" but apparently there is nothing else because I don't see any announcement of enforcing better standards from the Commissioner of the RCMP. Here's a CTV report from today:
The B.C. man shown on video being kicked by a Kelowna Mountie during a brutal arrest says he's poised to accept a deal that would make weapons charges against him disappear.
In the Jan. 7 video, Const. Geoff Mantler can be seen kicking 51-year-old Buddy Tavares as he knelt on the ground beside his truck.
Mounties had pulled over Tavares in response to a 911 call regarding a domestic violence incident and arrested him after finding a shotgun in his vehicle. He was charged with careless use of firearm.
Tavares told CTV News that he's been told that Crown prosecutors may drop the charge if he agrees to a weapons prohibition.
"That was discussed. Whether it's happening, I don't know. But it's a possibility," he said. "I think they just want this to go away."
But Tavares vows that he won't go away. He's expecting an apology from the highest levels of the RCMP in B.C., and is planning to throw everything he has into a lawsuit.
"Like I said about being accountable, the pocketbook hurts," he said.
Abbotsford police were called in to investigate the incident, and have recommended a charge of assault causing bodily harm against Mantler. The Crown has yet to approve the charge.
At the time of his arrest, Tavares was recovering from a brain injury and trying to regain his skills at the piano. The kick in the face was a huge setback.
"I was back to like when I got out of hospital. Except now, the left hand knows what it's playing, the right hand knows what it's playing -- they're just not playing together," Tavares said.
And his anger has not softened at all -- not just about the kick, but also about how it felt to see Mantler point his gun at him as Tavares sat trembling behind the wheel of his truck.
"[It was] terrifying, beyond unnerving. I'm familiar with that gun and it will make a big hole. Especially when he tells you, ‘I will shoot you,'" Tavares said.
"That's the worst feeling I've ever had."
His next scheduled court appearance is on Monday.
2011feb22Finally, the RCMP has offered an apology to Buddy Tavares. But true to the noble tradition of the RCMP, they have refused to pay any compensation. They have to save the money for the horses for the RCMP musical ride! Here's a bit from the Global TV report:
The top ranked RCMP officer in British Columbia has said sorry to Buddy Tavares.So, the next time you get mugged by the RCMP police, be happy, you are going to help feed the horses so they can shit more!
Tavares is the Kelowna man who was kicked in the face by Cst. Geoff Mantler while being arrested on January 7th.
RCMP Deputy Commissioner Peter Hourihan visited Tavares at his Kelowna home Monday morning.
Tavares says during the 45 minute meeting, Hourihan apolgized for Cst. Mantler's actions but didn't offer any compensation for the assault which left Tavares bleeding heavily on the pavement.
And here's a bit from the Province newspaper making it clear that if you let the police kick you in the head, then you get the police to say "sorry" for arresting you because you were simply doing your job at the golf course using a shotgun to scare off the birds. But, of course, the RCMP has to save face, so they need you to "voluntarily" give up you weapon for 18 months so they don't look like total goofs for kicking you, throwing you in jail for a weekend, threaten you with all kinds of charges, etc:
Buddy Tavares, the Kelowna man who was videotaped being kicked in the face by an RCMP officer while on his hands and knees during an arrest, received an apology from the province’s top Mountie on Monday.The good news is that they guy who got treated like a soccer ball for not committing any crime is now free from further judicial harassment.
Later, Tavares, 51, appeared in court, where he learned Crown counsel has stayed a charge of careless use of a firearm that arose out of the Jan. 7 incident at the Kelowna golf course where Tavares worked as a greenskeeper.
Police, responding to a report of shots fired at the Harvest Golf Course that morning, arrested Tavares as he drove home from the course, where he had taken his shotgun to scare away geese, which was part of his job.
Kelowna journalist Kelly Hayes of Castanet.net videotaped RCMP Const. Geoff Mantler kicking Tavares once in the face while he was submitting to the arrest.
Tavares spent the weekend in jail on suspicion of careless use of a firearm.
RCMP Deputy Commissioner Peter Hourihan paid a visit to Tavares at his Kelowna home to apologize.
Hourihan told Castanet he apologized “on behalf of the RCMP for the incident that took place on Jan. 7.”
“It went very well,” Hourihan added, but did not say whether the apology was accepted.
Neil MacKenzie, spokesman for the criminal justice branch of the attorney-general’s ministry, told The Province the decision to stay the charge against Tavares was made on a recommendation by a deputy regional Crown counsel in Nelson.
“On review of the file, the Crown concluded there was not a basis to proceed on a criminal charge against [Tavares], however, the Crown was satisfied there was a reasonable basis to seek a firearms prohibition,” said MacKenzie.
Tavares agreed to the Crown’s request to surrender all of his firearms for 18 months.
In the meantime, the fate of Const. Mantler remains in limbo.
And, of course, the miscreant, Constable Geoff Mantler, who assaulted Buddy Tavares by kicking him while he was down is still free and at large, collecting a salary, and mugging for the cameras.
The lesson to learn: don't be an innocent victim because the system will abuse you. Instead, sucker punch the other guy, that way you get to collect you salary and get a free paid holiday!
Geoff Mantler is still a free man. He now has a list of previous assaults on innocent victims (aka "citizens") as long as your arm, but he remains employed by the RCMP which admires his "tough guy" image and feels it is necessary to employ goons who can back up their tough guy image with the necessary thug-like boot to the head or sucker punch to a unsuspecting arrestee. This makes sure that Canadians will have the proper "respect" (aka "fear") of their police authorities!
Update 2011mar24: The RCMP officer Geoff Mantler has now been charged with two separate assaults against innocent civilians that he "arrested" in a most brutal way. And he will likely be charged with for a third occurrence as well. In short, Mantler is a brutal, vicious guy who used his status as "police" to allow him to bully and brutalize others. Here's a bit from a Globe & Mail article:
A British Columbia RCMP officer caught on video kicking a suspect in the face was charged Thursday with two counts of assault causing bodily harm in relation to two separate incidents.There are many who rushed to Geoff Mantler's defense claiming that the "public couldn't understand the nature of police work" and were simply too squeamish. Nonsense. This is a case of a violent criminal who got into the police so that he could practice his wretched brutal nature on innocents who couldn't fight back. Sadly it has taken years to "out" this monster.
Constable Geoff Mantler is accused of assaulting 51-year-old Buddy Tavares during an arrest on Jan. 7 as he responded to a call about shots fired at an area golf course.
The witness video shows Mr. Tavares on his hands and knees when an officer boots him in the face.
The Crown said a charge has been approved in relation to that incident and another while Constable Mantler was on duty last August, but provided no further details of the earlier incident.
It is especially disgusting that Geoff Mantler kept his full salary while suspended. What a nutty way to treat a criminal. How many other jobs can you get that kind of treatment? I do believe in due process, but the idea that the RCMP get to keep their salary while suspended is simply outrageous. If you have done something that brutal, you should be suspended without pay. If it turns out that you were in fact innocent, then fine, you should get your job back with back pay. But to be paid to "holiday" because you are a brute attacking innocent civilians is a bit much to take.
There are far too many cases of misfits getting into positions of trust, and even high up in organizations. The case of "Colonel" Russell Williams is the most egregious of these cases.
David Russell Williams (born March 7, 1963), is a convicted murderer, rapist, and former Colonel in the Canadian Forces. From July 2009 to his arrest in February 2010, he commanded Canadian Forces Base Trenton, a hub for air transport operations in Canada and abroad and the country's largest and busiest airbase. Williams was also a decorated military pilot who had flown Canadian Forces VIP aircraft for Canadian dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the governor general, the prime minister, and others.Obviously most police, RCMP, and military are fine citizens, devoted public servants. But these organizations as well as the public should be vigilant and root out the sick, perverted, and monstrous among them because they hold positions of great power and great public trust. They need to be held to the highest standards. The idea of pretending that public servants are "too good" to do bad things is abhorrent. It would be nice if that fairy tale were true. But the fact is bad people weasel their way into power because power lets them unleash their vicious natures under the cover of their uniform and officially sanctioned power. Society must be doubly vigilant in making sure that those who hold such office are the very finest of citizens dedicated to protecting the rest of us. They deserve our support, our honour, and a good wage. But they don't deserve protection while they assault, rape, and kill the rest of us!
On February 8, 2010, he was relieved as the base commander at CFB Trenton due to criminal charges. He was formally charged by the Crown Attorney pursuant to provisions set forth in the Criminal Code of Canada on evidence collected by the Ontario Provincial Police with two counts of first-degree murder along with two counts of forcible confinement and two counts of breaking and entering and sexual assault; another 82 charges relating to breaking and entry were subsequently added. On October 21, 2010, Williams was sentenced to two life sentences for first-degree murder, two 10-year sentences for other sexual assaults, two 10-year sentences for forcible confinement and 82 one-year sentences for burglary; all the sentences will be served concurrently at Kingston Penitentiary.
Update 2011jul13: Here is a bit from a Global TV news story:
The suspended Kelowna RCMP officer accused of viciously kicking a Kelowna man in the head pleaded not guilty to two assault charges in a Kelowna courtroom Tuesday.
Const. Geoff Mantler, who was thrust into the spotlight in January after a video posted online allegedly showed him kick Buddy Tavares in the head, has been suspended from his job since January.
He faces two counts of assault causing bodily harm related to two separate incidents — Tavares’ arrest in January and another alleged incident last September involving a man named Manjit Singh Bhatti.
Mantler is scheduled appear in court July 19 to fix a date for his trial, where he will plead not guilty to both charges.
Meanwhile, Tavares — a Kelowna-based groundskeeper — is launching a civil suit against Mantler and other unnamed officer, the City of Kelowna and the Province of British Columbia for the injuries he alleges he sustained during an altercation with police Jan. 21.
Tavares filed the civil claim to the Supreme Court of British Columbia on June 28, stating that he “suffered loss of dignity and humiliation resulting from (Mantler’s) conduct.”
“He is unable to fulfil his normal daily duties, continues to receive medical treatment and says that his enjoyment of life has been and continues to be impaired,” the claim states.
The document lists a number of injuries Tavares claims he received January 6, including a brain injury, broken nose, damaged teeth, dizziness and nausea, sleeplessness and mental anguish.
It also alleges that Tavares was subject to “excessive and unnecessary force.”
In January, a video posted online showed Tavares — a Kelowna-based groundskeeper — pulled out his truck by two RCMP officers in Kelowna.
He then kneels on the ground before two Mounties and gets kicked in the head by one of the officers before being arrested and held.
The widely-circulated video sparked outrage and Mantler was later suspended from his position with Kelowna RCMP.