Buddy Tavares misses opportunity to confront cop who kicked him

Buddy Tavares came back from Mexico early in the hopes of seeing the police officer charged with assaulting him, face to face for the first time since the incident that led to the charge took place in January.

But he’ll have to wait another two weeks to attempt that meeting with Const. Geoffrey Mantler, after the officer’s court cases were dealt with early at the Kelowna courthouse Tuesday afternoon.

Mantler, 28, was scheduled to make his first appearance on two charges of assault causing bodily harm—one of which involves Tavares as the victim—at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, but his cases were called at 1:42 p.m., shortly after Mantler arrived in the courtroom.

During the brief appearance, Mantler stood silently at the back of the courtroom with his hands crossed and clutching a soft-sided briefcase as his lawyer addressed the justice of the peace presiding in the room.

Neville McDougall said he had yet to receive disclosure of evidence for either charge and expected to receive that information later this week. He requested the case return to court in two weeks.

Mantler said nothing as he left the courthouse and got into a waiting vehicle driven by another local RCMP officer.

A few minutes later, Tavares seemed at a loss for words after learning Mantler’s case had been dealt with before he arrived in the courtroom.

“I flew back from Mexico just to hear nothing,” Tavares told the Capital News. “I wanted him to see me sitting there.”

Mantler arrested Tavares at gunpoint on Jan. 7, after police received a call about a man with a gun at the Harvest Golf Club.

During the arrest, which was captured on video, Mantler could be seen kicking Tavares in the face while Tavares, who suffered a brain injury last summer, was on all fours.

Tavares was initially charged with careless use of a firearm following the arrest but that charge was later dropped.

Mantler was charged with assault causing bodily harm in relation to that arrest last month.

At the same time, police and justice officials announced a second charge of assault causing bodily harm against Mantler, related to an Aug. 30 incident.

Court records identify the victim in the second  case as Manjeet Singh Bhatti.

Mantler, who is currently suspended with pay, is now scheduled to return to court May 10.

Tavares has pledged to return to the courthouse for that date.

“I’ll be here every time,” he said.


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