Second beating tied to suspended Kelowna cop

The case of Buddy Tavares is not the first time Const. Geoff Mantler is alleged to have used excessive force during an arrest.

Jeremy Packer holds up a copy of the Capital News with the story about his arrest on the William Bennett Bridge last Aug. 10. It resulted in an excessive force complaint against the same constable now under investigation in Buddy Tavares’ assault.

The case of Buddy Tavares is not the first time Const. Geoff Mantler is alleged to have used excessive force during an arrest.

Jeremy Packer claims the Kelowna RCMP officer, currently suspended while under investigation for his kick to Tavares earlier this month, punched him in the head at least twice during his own arrest last August.

On Aug. 10, Packer says he was driving back to his employer, Tru Northwest, with a repossessed boat in tow when he noticed a check stop on the bridge and officers with their guns drawn running between the cars.

Suddenly, he found the guns pointed at himself and put his hands up.

“He (the officer) tried to open the door and it wouldn’t open so I told him I had to unlock the door,” said Packer.

“As soon as I did he opened the door and tried to pull me out but the truck was still in gear so it rolled forward and hit another car.”

Packer said he got stuck in his seat belt before the officer pulled him out, and alleges he was punched in the head.

After being taken to the ground, Packer claims the officer punched him at least two more times in the head before being cuffed.

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

“They’re on top of me and I was on the ground. I couldn’t really move,” said Packer.

“All I could really do is keep turning my head…so I wouldn’t get hit in the same spot.”

Packer suffered abrasions, road rash and a black eye, in addition to losing a tooth.

At the time of Packer’s arrest, police believed the boat had been stolen, but released the Kelowna man two hours later. He never faced charges.

Several months ago, Packer filed an official complaint against the RCMP officer claiming improper arrest, neglect of duty and improper use of force as he had been considering civil court action.

Earlier this week he received correspondence from the RCMP that confirmed the officer in question was Const. Mantler.

Packer hadn’t known the name of the officer at the time of this arrest and said he was surprised once he realized the officer in question in his case was the same one who made headlines earlier this month for the arrest of Buddy Tavares.

“It didn’t even dawn on me that it’d be the same constable,” said Packer.

“One complaint for a couple different people, it’s one thing, but for two complaints in a few months is pretty shocking.”

He feels that the officer should be dismissed or transferred.

“I don’t think he should be a police officer if that’s the way he’s going to treat innocent people,” said Packer.

“I was just doing my job and didn’t resist arrest, surrendered, complied with all instructions and I still came out the bad guy.”

RCMP “E Division” say the internal investigation into Mantler’s actions in dealing with Packer is ongoing.

Mantler is currently suspended with pay in relation to the Jan. 7 arrest of Buddy Tavares. Abbotsford Police have said they will be recommending a charge of assault causing bodily harm against the officer for that incident.

cweirda@kelownacapnews.com

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