While Buddy Tavares has had his last words in the trial of the RCMP officer who delivered the kick seen around the world, his civil suit remains far behind.
Tavares wrapped up his evidence in the assault causing bodily harm trial of Const. Geoff Mantler on Tuesday. Outside court, a clearly agitated Tavares refused to speak about his civil case, saying he was being extremely cautious about who he talks to and what he talks about. A day earlier, he told reporters of his doubts about getting justice against "the old boys club" of police officers and courts.
The paperwork on his lawsuit doesn't tell much except, of course, that Mantler, another officer, the City of Kelowna and the Solicitor General's ministry—all named in the suit—were standing by Mantler and the protections he is afforded under the Police Act. In other words, they deny Tavares' allegations.
He described his injuries as "mild traumatic brain injury, re-aggravation of a major taumatic brain injury, fracture of the nose, injuries to his mouth and teeth, mental anguish, sleeplessness, shock and trauma, post-traumatic stress, memory and concentration problems."
Before the incident, Tavares was a groundskeeper at the Harvest golf club. It was there that he was heard firing a gun that prompted the call to police and brutal arrest.
But before that? According to his sister, Pam Wieher, he was just a completely different person. She's described him as kind and wonderful then. But the man beside her is tense, red-faced, near tears and just stormed off after venting his anger with words he knows he shouldn't use.
Before the Jan. 7 arrest, Tavares was still recovering from a bad motorcycle accident in 2010 when he suffered a serious brain and other physical injuries.
"No one knows what I have been through," he says.
He was once a concert pianist and played in some of the finest hotels in the country, he says. But after his motorcycle accident he sat down at his grand piano and couldn't play chopsticks, he says.
"I sat there for eight hours a day, trying to learn it again," he says. "I got to 60 to 70 per cent."
After the arrest and the kick to the head, he went home again and sat once again at the piano. His eyes water and a nerve pulses with intensity as he explains that everything he re-learned was gone again. He was right back to the beginning.
"Now take that… and apply it to everything else in my life," he says and repeats again: "No one out there knows what I have been through."