Buddy Tavares' actions just prior to being kicked by Geoff Mantler would have been perceived as a threat by any trained officer, an RCMP constable testified today.
Const. Robyn Boffy, second to arrive at Tavares' arrest scene Jan. 7, 2011, told a B.C. Provincial Court judge Wednesday morning that several factors in Tavares' demeanour could well have been cause for concern for Mantler, who is charged with assault causing bodily harm.
For example, Boffy said, Tavares' movements were abnormally slow for someone commanded to get out of his vehicle at gunpoint.
"If I were in the same position, I would have been moving a lot faster if a police officer pointing a gun at me were telling me what to do," she said.
Later, Boffy expanded on a possible reason slow movements can be worrisome to an arresting officer.
"I'd be worried that he's planning to do something," she said.
As defence counsel Neville McDougall led Boffy down a frame-by-frame path of the video of the incident, Boffy pointed to some of Tavares' actions that could have been points of concern to an arresting officer. Tavares did not, Boffy said, precisely follow routine commands to the letter. Ordered to keep his hands above his head as he exited the vehicle, Tavares' hands occasionally dropped below shoulder level.
Tavares' hands occasionally wandered toward his own waistband, which, Boffy said, is a favourite area to hide weapons. Instead of keeping his hands outstretched into a 'T' position, Tavares sometimes kept them to his chest, another cause for concern.
Tavares also was ordered to get on his hands and knees as he exited his truck. The video showed Tavares on his knees, but leaning with his backside on his heels. Ordered to place his hands on the pavement, Tavares appeared to briefly lift his hands before putting them back down -- another move that could have been perceived as a threat, based on training procedures all officers go through.
All this happened, Boffy said, in the context of the original dispatch report that a former employee at Harvest Golf Course was at the course firing off rounds, then leaving the scene.
"It was a high-priority call," Boffy said.
On redirect by Crown counsel Will Burrows, Boffy testified that Tavares made no movements toward Mantler. They may have slowly moved contrary to Mantler's orders, but Tavares made no obviously aggressive moves toward Mantler before Mantler kicked him.
Also taking the stand was Boffy's husband, Const. Kyle Boffy, one of the officers on the scene.
He testified that he'd arrived shortly after a report that Mantler had located the vehicle and had arrested Tavares. When he arrived, Kyle Boffy said he searched Tavares' truck, found his shotgun and locked it in the trunk of his police car.
The trial continues the afternoon. Infotel news will have details of the afternoon session.