Kelowna police officer may face additional charges

The Kelowna RCMP officer suspended after a highly publicized kick to a man’s head, faces more legal woes.

The Kelowna RCMP officer suspended after a highly publicized kick to a man’s head, faces more legal woes.

Police and Crown counsel officials have confirmed that Const. Geoff Mantler, who is facing the possibility of a criminal charge in relation to his arrest of Buddy Tavares in January, is awaiting a decision on charges regarding a second case of alleged excessive force.

Back in August, Kelowna resident Jeremy Packer was driving a repossessed boat back to his employer when was arrested on the William R. Bennett bridge at gunpoint by officers who had been told the boat had been stolen.

In an interview in January, Packer alleged that an officer punched him in the head while he was being pulled out of the truck. He then claimed he was punched at least two more times in the head while on the ground.

Packer says at the time of those two punches, his hands were behind his back and he was not resisting.

Packer, who was never charged with a criminal offence following the incident, suffered abrasions, road rash and a black eye, in addition to losing a tooth.

He filed an official complaint to the RCMP back in November and the findings from that investigation have led to police forwarding a report to Crown counsel, said Sgt. Rob Vermeulen on Tuesday.

He would not disclose which charge or charges have been recommended, saying only: “If a report’s been forwarded, there’s a potential for a charge.”

Crown counsel spokesman Neil MacKenzie said both the Aug. 10 incident and the Jan. 7 arrest of Tavares are being reviewed by Crown counsel in two different cities as they conduct charge assessments.

MacKenzie could not provide a specific timeline for decisions in both case. “I expect the (criminal justice) branch will be issuing a media statement once the charge assessment is complete,” he said.

Mantler was suspended with pay on Jan. 10, three days after a Castanet video captured him kicking Tavares in the face while Tavares was on his hands and knees. Abbotsford Police have said they recommended a charge of assault causing bodily harm against the officer in that incident.

A weapons charge laid against Tavares following the arrest was later dropped, and a high ranking RCMP officer came to Kelowna to apologize to Tavares.