Man seen on video in violent Kelowna arrest sues RCMP officer | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Man seen on video in violent Kelowna arrest sues RCMP officer

Tyler Russell
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Bridge Law Corporation

The man who was seen on video being punched in the head by a Kelowna police officer is now suing the officer in question.

Last month, multiple videos captured a violent arrest in Kelowna’s downtown. The videos show 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 in the face before taking him into custody. The man later went to Kelowna General Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

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

Tyler Russell, a Kelowna resident, filed the suit Wednesday, June 17 against Const. Siggy 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 in 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.

After getting out of the vehicle, the lawsuit alleges that Russell was not advised that he was under arrest or being detained and was not informed of his right to "retain and instruct counsel."

Russell was not a threat to the officers' safety and the officers had "total control" over Russell's movements, according to the suit. When struggling with the RCMP officers "Pietrzak came running on to the scene and without any hesitation, he began punching the plaintiff repeatedly," the suit alleges.

The suit continues that Russell suffered lacerations, damage to his nose, cuts on his face, facial bruising, swelling, excessive bleeding and damaged ribs from the incident.

Russell also alleges that the RCMP officers made no effort to ensure that he received care while at Kelowna General Hospital, and that he “left KGH with blood dripping down his face and without being provided with any medical care.”

Russell is seeking damages from the RCMP and Pietrzak that include: general damages, recovery of healthcare costs, future care costs and future loss of earnings among others.

None of these allegations have been proven in court. The RCMP has not filed a statement of defence.

The Kelowna RCMP is currently conducting an internal investigation into the incident.

In a previous news conference, Kelowna Supt. Brent Mundle said the action is concerning, but it’s incumbent on him to learn what happened before and after the incident and put it all in context before making any decision. And, he stressed, the video itself is very short.
“It’s always our intention to obtain a peaceful arrest,” he said.

READ MORE: Video of Kelowna Mountie striking suspect 'concerning,' says city's top cop

"We are aware the suit has been filed but have not yet been served. Once received, we will review the matter with the Department of Justice and our official response will be filed in court as a statement of defence. As the matter is now before the courts, it would be inappropriate to comment further," Sgt. Janelle Shoihet, senior media relations officer with the RCMP said in a emailed statement.

This story was updated at 11:50 a.m. to include details and the RCMP's response.


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