Buddy Tavares leaves the Kelowna provincial courthouse

Buddy Tavares leaves the Kelowna provincial courthouse

Second rally planned to support Kelowna man kicked by police officer

The defence lawyer for the man who was infamously kicked by a Kelowna RCMP officer last month says the Crown is still determining if they will proceed with the charge against his client.

Crown counsel from Nelson has been tasked with dealing with the careless use of a firearm charge against Buddy Tavares, said defence lawyer Clarke Burnett.

“He is still reviewing the file to determine if the Crown is still proceeding,” Burnett told a justice of the peace Monday as he appeared for Tavares’ first court appearance.

He also said they are awaiting further disclosure and asked that the case go over to Feb. 21.

While Tavares, 51, was not in court, in the gallery for the appearance was Darin Howard, who is organizing a second rally to support Tavares, as well as Robert Dziekanski, who died after he was tasered by RCMP at Vancouver International Airport in 2007.

“We’re looking for movement on either of these cases,” said Howard. “We’re trying to highlight the fact that the Crown is not moving forward in a quick and meaningful manner.”

In the case of Tavares, Abbotsford Police were called in to investigate and spent some two weeks writing a lengthy report to Crown counsel, asking for the charge of assault causing bodily harm to be laid against the officer who arrested Tavares.

It is believed that report was finally in the hands of the Crown a week ago and they are now reviewing the evidence to determine if charges should be laid against Const. Geoff Mantler. Part of that charge assessment includes determining if it is in the public interest to proceed with charges and if there is a substantial likelihood of conviction.

On Jan. 7, Mantler pulled over Tavares in relation to a shots fired report at Harvest Golf Club and was caught on video kicking the 51-year-old in the head while he was on his hands and knees.

Tavares’ weapons charge relates to that original incident at the golf course.

Mantler was suspended with pay following the incident, and one other man has since come forward to say he had filed a complaint about his treatment from Mantler.

Howard said three others have contacted him with complaints about their interactions with Mantler, but wasn’t releasing further details as he was still confirming information.

He says the complaints involving Mantler are just a small portion of the number of people who have contacted him about alleged police brutality.

Two of those people will be speaking at the upcoming rally and others who want to speak out about their interaction with police will be given a voice.

“We’re going to put up a video camera and allow people to come in and tell their stories,” said Howard.

“We also want the other side of the coin, too. We want to hear people stand up for the good cops that are out there.”

They’re also calling on local politicians to attend the rally, which has been organized by a Facebook group focused on seeking to have Mantler charged and fired.

The rally is set to begin at noon on Feb. 20 at the Sails and Howard estimates over 1,000 people will attend.

“We’re all expecting it to be a peaceful event without any problems,” said Howard.

Kelowna Capital News

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