More witnesses sought in Tavares case

by Wayne Moore - Story: 59492
Jan 14, 2011 / 3:30 pm

Buddy Tavares
Abbotsford Police continue to search for witnesses to last Friday's incident at KLO and Lakeshore in Kelowna in which RCMP officer Geoff Mantler was caught on video kicking suspect Buddy Tavares in the face.

Mantler has since been suspended with pay while six Major Crimes detectives from the Abbotsford Police Department investigate the incident.

Abbotsford Police spokesman, Cst. Ian MacDonald, says several witnesses have already come forward.

MacDonald says he has spoken with 10 people who have contacted the Abbotsford detachment and believes officers in Kelowna have heard from many more than that.

He says police are specifically asking people in the RBC bank branch on Pandosy who witnessed the events to come forward.

"We've heard from a customer at the bank who had indicated that there were a number of other customers in there and, despite the fact she didn't feel she had the best vantage point, she made note of the fact there were several others including bank employees who were lining the windows and seemed to have a pretty good perspective of what was taking place," says MacDonald."

He says only one person from inside the bank has come forward to date.

Abbotsford Police arrived in Kelowna earlier this week to being their investigation.

While he doesn't know how long the investigation will take place, MacDonald says it is not a routine investigation.

"The difference I would suggest in situations that involve a use of force is that police officers are granted the privilege or the right, in certain circumstances, to use force. When you are dealing with a police officer there are so many different things that come into play," says MacDonald.

"In a very general sense, when you are investigating a situation like this you are essentially having to say, was the person involved in the lawful execution of their duty? Were they acting in good faith as a police officer?"

MacDonald says police officers do understand that actions they take will be scrutinized by the public and, sometimes, scrutinized by other police officers as well