Here are the top stories of the week.
Hundreds of people are gathering in Stuart Park for a rally in support of the black community in Kelowna.
Organized by two black women Paige Harrison and Kermisha Pereira, the rally is meant to be peaceful and bring light to the ongoing protests in the U.S.
Many came out to supoort the Black Lives Matter rally in Kelowna. pic.twitter.com/GfBZgOeqCt
— twila m amato (@twilamam) June 5, 2020
A family member has come forward to identify the Kelowna Mountie involved in a violent arrest caught on video.
Kym Pietrzak has identified the officer as her brother, Const. Siggy Pietrzak, 45 and is condemning his actions.
According to his sister, Siggy has been a Kelowna RCMP officer for three years. Prior to that, he was a Registered Practical Nurse in Ontario, but is now listed by the College of Nurses of Ontario as ’not entitled to practice’.
“It didn’t surprise me but I was disgusted,” Kym said. “I can’t believe he’s a cop.
“How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?”
The trial for three men accused of the 2017 murder of Michael Bonin has been put over for another 11 months.
Initially slated to begin later this month, the murder trial for 28-year-old Ryan Watt, 22-year-old Joshua Fleurant and 29-year-old Jared Jorgenson has been moved to May 2021 due to scheduling issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fleurant, Watt and Jorgenson are alleged to have killed Bonin and left his body on Peers Creek Forest Service Road, north of Hope, B.C. His body was found in April 2017. Fleurant and Watt are both facing first-degree murder charges, however, Jorgenson’s charge was reduced to second-degree.
Both Watt and Fleurant remain in custody. Jorgensen was granted bail in June 2018.
New video evidence that surfaced in the second-degree murder trial of Surrey man Tejwant Danjou was played in a Kelowna courtroom on Friday, June 5.
The three-minute video was shot by Danjou himself on May 7, 2018, as he and Gauravarapu were on a flight to Las Vegas — three months before he bludgeoned her to death with a wine bottle in their West Kelowna hotel room on July 22, 2018.
According to testimony from forensic psychiatrist Dr. Todd Tomita, Danjou believed the video to show evidence of Gauravarapu’s infidelity. Danjou claimed to Tomita that he took the video after Gauravarapu had “hiked up her dress” while on the plane, allowing the man in the seat next to her to “flirt and fondle her.”
There are no confirmed active COVID-19 cases in the Interior Health region as of Wednesday, June 3, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).
As of Wednesday afternoon, numbers from the BCCDC’s dashboard show 193 of the 195 COVID-19 cases in the region have recovered. Interior Health has seen two deaths due to the virus.
The Independent Investigation Office of BC (IIO) has found an RCMP officer was justified in the shooting of a man at Bear Creek Provincial Park in September of 2019.
Kelowna’s unemployment rate continues to rise during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Statistics Canada, Kelowna’s employment dropped last month due to the pandemic and the city’s unemployment rate moved to 9.6 per cent after increasing to 8.1 per cent in April — a significant shift away from the normal average of 4 per cent. These stats indicate that more than 10,000 people were unemployed in Kelowna last month.