Mayor to speak at rally calling for police accountability

Kelowna’s council will debate Monday whether to ask other local governments to support the creation of a RCMP civilian oversight committee to review serious complaints made by citizens against members of the police force. The proposed resolution was crafted by city staff after council earlier discussed resolutions to send to the Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA) for consideration and possible debate at the annual meeting of all local B.C. governments.

Kelowna’s council will debate Monday whether to ask other local governments to support the creation of a RCMP civilian oversight committee to review serious complaints made by citizens against members of the police force. The proposed resolution was crafted by city staff after council earlier discussed resolutions to send to the Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA) for consideration and possible debate at the annual meeting of all local B.C. governments.

But before council votes on that resolution, Mayor Sharon Shepherd will be addressing the crowd expected Sunday at a rally calling for police accountability in the wake of the arrest of Buddy Tavares, a brain injured man who was kicked in the face by Const. Geoff Mantler during his arrest Jan. 7.

She’ll be telling the crowd about council’s discussion around the idea of a civilian oversight committee and also her efforts to get more information about previously tabled federal legislation about dealing with civilian complaints about the RCMP.

“We have been listening to the concerns of the community and we’re responding in trying to direct policy,” said Shepherd, who noted she will be speaking—but not participating—in the rally.

The event is scheduled to begin at noon Sunday at the Sails and is expected to involve a march to the courthouse as the criminal justice system has not yet determined if charges will be laid against Mantler.

Mantler was suspended with pay following his arrest of 51-year-old Tavares, and an Abbotsford Police investigation has resulted in a recommendation that Mantler be charged with assault causing bodily harm.

It is now up to Crown counsel to determine if that charge will be laid.

Tavares was arrested following a report of shots fired at Harvest Golf Club.

He historically let off rounds at the golf course to scare off geese, but at issue is whether he was supposed to be on the grounds the day of his arrest.

Tavares was charged with careless use of a firearm following his arrest, and is scheduled to make a second appearance on Monday.

There is speculation that the charge may be stayed, but a criminal justice branch official wouldn’t confirm that.

In addition to the criminal charge, Tavares is also the subject of an RCMP request that he be barred from possessing weapons or firearms.

That application is set to be in court for the first time on Monday.

Tavares is currently banned from possessing weapons or firearms as part of his bail conditions for the careless use of a firearm charge.

cweirda@kelownacapnews.com