November 26, 2012 - 1:31 PM
UPDATE: 12:30 p.m. Nov. 26
A witness told a Kelowna Provincial Court judge that he clearly saw a Kelowna RCMP constable kick a man in the face and he had video evidence to prove it.
Kelly Hayes, a video journalist who worked with Castanet Media at the time, was the first witness the Crown called in the opening day of the trial of Geoff Mantler, charged with assault causing bodily harm during a high-profile arrest on Jan. 7, 2011.
"It was a hard kick," Hayes testified.
Crown counsel Will Burrows asked Hayes what Tavares' reaction was to the kick.
"His head shot back," Hayes said. "I believe he landed facedown on the ground."
Hayes said he was driving southbound on Pandosy Street en route to an assignment when was passed by a police vehicle. After hearing on his scanner of police activity on the corner of Pandosy and KLO Road, Hayes said he decided to follow the police vehicle. He turned left on KLO road and saw a pick-up truck, followed by an unmarked police vehicle and a marked police car.
Hayes said he parked his vehicle directly across the street from the scene, pulled out his iPhone and started shooting what he saw.
Hayes said he saw Mantler standing in front of the truck, yelling commands and pointing his service weapon at the driver. Hayes testified that he saw Tavares slowly climb out of the truck, hands raised over his head.
"He looked stunned," Hayes said.
Mantler, Hayes said, commanded Tavares to get on the ground. Tavares complied. He first got on his knees. Then, Hayes said, as Tavares was about to place both hands on the pavement, Mantler took three steps toward him and kicked him in the face.
Hayes said he continued filming as Tavares collapsed face-first onto the street and as he was handcuffed, bleeding, by another officer and led to the marked police vehicle.
"I was no more than 10 feet away from the scene," Hayes said.
Hayes said he was at the scene for about 30 minutes. He asked Mantler, "What do you got?"
Mantler answered that he received a call about a man with a head injury firing shots at Harvest Golf Club. Mantler also asked to see the video twice. Hayes complied. Mantler asked only that his face not appear in the video.
Hayes testified that he went back to the Castanet office to process the video. He said the RCMP called to request a copy of the video, which Hayes supplied.
Earlier this year, Mantler was acquitted of assaulting a Kelowna resident during an arrest in August, 2010.
The trial is expected to last two weeks.
Testimony continues today. Stay with us for details.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2012