Former Mountie says video of violent Kelowna arrest still needs more evidence | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Former Mountie says video of violent Kelowna arrest still needs more evidence

Image Credit: Tyson Gillies

As the Kelowna RCMP investigates a violent arrest in the city’s downtown after it was caught on camera, a former Mountie says he’s skeptical of video evidence alone when it comes to an investigation.

Rob Creasser, a former Kamloops Mountie and former media spokesperson for the Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada, said there are several steps the RCMP performs when investigating a case like this one, including talking to witnesses, the potential victim, gathering further video evidence, determining if any drugs or alcohol may have played a role in the incident and determining how the incident occurred and nature of the complaint.

"I’m skeptical of video evidence alone without those other investigative steps taking place. Was the video that was released longer in duration? What did it show prior to the police taking the action they did? Was the person they were interacting with compliant or combative? These points would all have to be explored in a thorough investigation,” he said.

The video shows a portion of an arrest in a parking lot in the 200-block of Bernard Avenue. The man appeared to be intoxicated and struggled with two officers who tried to take him into custody. That’s when the third officer was called in and when he arrived, he struck the man several times and took him into custody. The man later went to Kelowna General Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

The man who filmed the video is a Canadian professional baseball player who says he was enjoying dinner with friends on a downtown rooftop patio May 30. Tyson Gillies says when he heard a commotion, he started recording.

“I turned and looked down in the parking lot and saw a man standing there with two police officers on each arm trying to restrain him,” Gillies said.

Gillies filmed the incident because of “everything going on in the world right now, I feel like everyone needs visuals, visuals for means to spread awareness. The judicial system and society (needs) a wake-up call so we can start growing as a community and move forward together,” he said.

Protests to end police brutality have been ongoing worldwide after George Floyd, a black man, was killed in May by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The incident was caught on video, sparking outrage at police brutality against black communities.

READ MORE: Hundreds gather for Kelowna anti-racism protest

This is the second video that has come to light after the incident was first reported. The first sparked an RCMP internal investigation. The officer in question has been removed from patrol and is currently on desk duty.

READ MORE: Additional witnesses, video sought in Kelowna arrest

“I was very upset at the situation and I could see the anger of all my best friends around me as well. They were sharing the same mutual feelings. We were really bothered by it and a bit disturbed,” Gillies said. “It was very surprising to see this in Canada, I spent most of my years living in the states and to see it here in your own backyard, it was very surprising for me."

He hopes that by speaking out, people will be more aware of these types of incidents.

“I’m not out here trying to one-side this situation because, from the standpoint where I was and where everyone was, we didn’t know what happened with the civilian and what he had done. (But,) people aren’t punching bags and if there’s a way we can access the situation safer than that, that’s the correct way to go,” he said.


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