November 29, 2012 - 6:00 PM
UPDATE: 4:30 p.m. Nov. 29
An expert in police use of force said Const. Geoff Mantler's kick to Buddy Tavares' head was inappropriate and one of many mistakes Mantler made during the Jan. 7, 2011 arrest.
Sgt. Jeremy Lane, who works in the Abbotsford Police Department and teaches classes in many areas of police training, said Tavares offered little in the way of a threat to Mantler's safety and that Mantler's response was disproportionate and went against the fundamentals of his training.
"To me, it was not a significant enough of a threat to precipitate the action taken," Lane said Thursday, the fourth day of Mantler's assault trial. "Things get very complicated very quickly when you don't follow training."
Lane was requested to put together a report based on the videotape of the incident, his own evaluation of officers' training and rules and regulations followed by police officers. Lane said he'd hoped for a written report from Mantler himself, but did not receive one.
Contrary to testimony offered the last two days of the trial, in which Mantler's fellow RCMP officers said they understood why Mantler may have felt threatened enough to subdue Tavares in that fashion, Lane said Tavares didn't appear to project enough of an uncooperative attitude to justify Mantler's kick. He said the kick was the last of Mantler's many mistakes, from leaving his siren on during the arrest to failing to wait for backup to not protecting himself by staying behind his police car before backup arrived.
The arrest involved a high-risk vehicle stop, Lane said, which required Mantler to follow strict adherence of his training for the protection of himself and the general public. He failed to do that Lane said.
Among the missteps:
-- Mantler approached Tavares' truck alone, without backup, even though backup was imminent, which left himself vulnerable.
-- Mantler was vague in his commands to Tavares. Although he repeatedly ordered Tavares to "get down, get down," he could have been more concise by telling him to get down on the ground, place his hands on the pavement and keep his hands where Mantler could see them.
-- Before Tavares exited his truck, Mantler and Const. Robyn Boffy erred in their positioning. Mantler was at the driver's side windows, gun drawn, while Boffy stood at the passenger side window, which could have created a dangerous possibility of a crossfire.
-- Once Tavares was out of the truck, Mantler should have backed away to create distance between himself and Tavares. That way, had Tavares attacked, Mantler would have had greater time to react. As it was, Mantler was just five or six feet away from Tavares.
"If someone is going to spontaneously attack you, you need at least 15 feet," Lane said. "Const. Mantler was too close."
-- The kick came about five seconds after Tavares had climbed out of his truck, time that Mantler should have been spent continuing his verbal instructions.
"Five seconds is not an unreasonable amount of time for him to get him down on the ground and having him obey commands," Lane said.
Asked by Crown counsel Will Burrows whether he thought Tavares appeared uncooperative, he said:. "Not that I could see."
The trial continues Friday.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2012