Cop’s assault trial begins

A Kelowna Mountie charged with assault after a Valentine's Day 2010 melee was in court Monday.

A Kelowna Mountie charged with assault relating to a Valentine’s Day 2010 melee was in court Monday for the start of his three-day trial.

Witnesses to the incident testified that alleged victim, Kyle Nelson ran into trouble with Const. Chris Brinnen around 2 a.m., Feb. 15, 2010, after the two men exchanged verbal barbs and a middle-finger salute.

“(Nelson) said ‘what are you standing around for?’” recalled Crown Counsel’s first witness, nursing student Kaitlynne Lang, who was among the six friends Nelson had gone out with that night.

“Then he said, ‘You finger me, I’ll finger you.’” Nelson then flipped the bird in the direction of the six-or-so officers standing around their cars, awaiting the bar flush, and within moments the situation escalated.

Nelson started running down Leon Avenue away from the clubs, while Const. Brinnen, a 14-year veteran of the police force,  got into his unmarked police SUV and accelerated in pursuit.

Lang lost sight of the duo as they rounded the corner of Water Street, heading toward Bernard Avenue, but her view of the conflict didn’t disappear with them.

Nelson’s girlfriend and Crown Counsel’s second witness, Rebecca Dyer also found herself in a disagreement with local Mounties.

Dyer testified she was scared and panicked when Brinnen yelled out, “You better run or I’ll get the dogs on you,” and drove aggressively in his direction. As she walked toward the chase, she remembered saying; “Oh my gosh, what’s happening?”

A second police officer sidled up to her left, she testified, and offered an answer: “Don’t worry, the dogs will get him and chew his legs off, into pieces.”

A short exchange ensued, and the petite blonde said she then put her hands on the police officer’s vest to stop him from continuing on. “Then he threw me to the ground, handcuffed  me and charged me with assault,” she said.

A trial was scheduled, but charges were ultimately stayed.

As Dyer was taken into police custody, the four remaining friends who had gotten together for some live music and dancing that Valentine’s Day, walked to the local detachment and came upon Nelson on Bernard Avenue.

“His hands were bloody, his right hip was scratched, the skin around his eye was blue and his clothes were torn,” said Lang.

Reunited they all then went to the police station to try and retrieve Dyer, who was released at 6 a.m.

Crown Counsel Joel Gold’s first two witnesses said nobody in the group of six was drinking heavily. Nelson was supposed to be the designated driver for at least four of the group and he only had a couple drinks.

Conversely, Brinnen’s defence lawyer, Neville McDougall, pointed out that Nelson’s decision to “finger” police and jump up and down was abnormal.

Nelson, McDougall said, has been described as rambunctious, although his behaviour that night may have warranted stronger words.

The girls didn’t agree, although Lang said she was surprised by his behaviour that night.

Nelson is expected to testify Tuesday.

 

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