Kelowna cop seen in arrest video charged with assault | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna cop seen in arrest video charged with assault

Kelowna Law Courts

A Kelowna Mountie has been charged with assault relating to the 2020 arrest of a suspected impaired driver.

RCMP Const. Siggy Emmit-Steven Pietrzak was charged with one count of assault today for an incident alleged to have occurred May 30, 2020. His first court appearance on this matter is scheduled for May 3.

"The charges were approved by an experienced Crown Counsel with no prior or current connection with the officer," the B.C. Prosecution Service said in a press release. "As this matter is now before the court the BCPS will not be releasing additional information or commenting further at this time."

The incident already gained widespread attention after a 12-second video showing a portion of the arrest in a parking lot of the 200 block of Bernard Avenue circulated and both statutory and internal investigations into the incident were launched. The findings of this investigation were subject of an independent review by an external police agency prior to being presented to the BC Prosecution Service  for the charge assessment process.

The video showed a man, who appeared to be intoxicated, struggling with two officers who tried to take him into custody.

That’s when a 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.

In addition to the criminal charge, Tyler Russell, a Kelowna resident who identified himself as the person in the video, filed a civil suit Wednesday, June 17, 2020 against Const. Pietrzak, the Attorney General of Canada and the B.C. Minister of Justice, alleging physical and emotional harm.

“The violent assault by the RCMP officers has caused the Plaintiff to suffer nightmares, anxiety, tenderness to his face and constant migraines," according to the suit.

The lawsuit alleges that Russell was sitting in his work vehicle on the passenger side with the vehicle turned off when he was approached by two RCMP officers who asked him to get out of the vehicle. He refused and was then asked to provide a breath sample which he also refused since he was not operating the motor vehicle and the keys were not in his possession or near him, according to the lawsuit.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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