Tavares testifies at Mantler trial | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Tavares testifies at Mantler trial

Const. Geoff Mantler

UPDATE 4:30 p.m. Nov. 26

Buddy Tavares says he doesn't remember being kicked in the face by a Kelowna RCMP officer, but that the videotape he saw later of the incident made it clear.
"The first time I knew what happened is when I saw the video," he said. "I know I really hurt."
Guided by Crown counsel Will Burrows, Tavares, 53, told a B.C. Provincial Court judge that he didn't know why he was pulled over on Jan. 7, 2011 and that the first time he had any idea that Cst. Geoff Mantler had kicked him in the face was when he viewed the tape shot by video journalist Kelly Hayes.
Mantler is charged with assault causing bodily harm. He has been suspended without pay. Monday was the opening day of the trial.
Tavares was pulled over after police received reports that he'd fired off a shotgun at Harvest Golf Club that day. Tavares said it was his job as assistant superintendent at the course, shooting the weapon to scare off geese. The golf course was closed. There was no one but he and the geese on the course and he never fired the weapon toward houses.
"Geese can destroy a golf course,"  he said. "I just wanted to scare them off."
Tavares said he then put the gun in his truck and drove from the course to go to Kelowna Law Courts to answer a child-support issue brought by his ex-wife. He said he was pulled over by police officers, but he didn't know the reason.
Tavares testified that the next thing he knew, Mantler was standing at his driver's side windshield, pointing a gun at him and yelling for him to freeze. Tavares said he'd never been at the wrong end of a gun and was rattled.
"He said, 'Keep both hands on the steering wheel or I'll shoot you,'" Tavares said. "It was the most unnerving moment I've ever had."
Tavares said he obeyed all of Mantler's commands, including to slowly get out of his truck. He said he asked Mantler several times what he had done.
Mantler, gun pointed, ordered Tavares to get on the ground. Although Hayes' video revealed that Mantler kicked Tavares in the face, Tavares had no memory of it. He said the next thing he remembered was being led to a police car for transport to the police station.
Under cross examination by defence lawyer Neville McDougall, Tavares denied that he'd been angry with his ex-wife over the child-support documents. He also vehemently denied having threatened her once in a parking lot.   
Earlier, McDougall employed a frame-by-frame exhibit of Hayes' video. In it, it was revealed that Tavares ever so briefly raised his hands, after Mantler ordered him to get on the ground and just before the kick. On redirect, Burrows said that, as each frame represented one of 15 frames a second, Tavares could only have raised his hands for two-tenths of a second.
The trial continues Tuesday.  

John Sleeper


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