Image from a video taken of the arrest on May 30 in downtown Kelowna.

Attorney General of Canada defends Kelowna Mountie involved in rough arrest

Tyler Russell filed a lawsuit against Const. Siggy Pietrzak in June of this year

The Attorney General of Canada (AGC) has denied excessive force was used in a May arrest in Kelowna during which a local Mountie was caught on camera punching a man several times in the face.

Tyler Russell filed a lawsuit against Const. Siggy Pietrzak, the B.C. Minister of Justice and the AGC after video of the offence went public in June 2020.

In a response to that claim filed earlier this month, the AGC denies Russell’s allegations that Pietrzak assaulted him, contending instead that Pietrzak’s strikes allowed officers to gain control over Russell.

“The AGC denies that the RCMP Members used excessive force in apprehending the plaintiff, or otherwise, and say that any force they used against the plaintiff was reasonable and justified in law,” reads the AGC’s response to the civil claim.

According to the AGC’s response, on May 30, 2020, an RCMP officer located Russell in a vehicle that, upon investigation, he was found to be driving without permission of the owner.

Upon request, Russell got out of the vehicle and officers noted a strong smell of alcohol, prompting them to seek a breath sample. At that point, the response claims, Russell became agitated.

Based on Russell’s “yelling and aggressive behaviour,” the officer sensed the situation escalating and requested back-up.

Another officer arrived and unsuccessfully attempted to assist the first officer in restraining Russell.

It was then Const. Pietrzak arrived on scene.

“(He) applied multiple closed hand strikes to the plaintiff’s head in order to gain control over the plaintiff. The constables were then able to bring the plaintiff to the ground, place handcuffs on him, and move him to the back of Const. Donahue’s police vehicle,” stated the AGC.

In the vehicle, the filing alleges, officers found half a bottle of hard alcohol behind the passenger seat; a glass pipe with unburned white powder, believed to be either cocaine or methamphetamine; and a flap of white powder, believed to be either cocaine or methamphetamine, in a wallet that contained Russell’s identification.

READ MORE: Kelowna man sues Mountie, province after viral arrest

READ MORE: Kelowna officer at centre of punch-throwing arrest also faced 2018 complaint probe

While being held at the RCMP detachment, Russell asked for medical attention. The suit claims upon the arrival of EHS personnel, Russell was “yelling and acting aggressively” towards them.

Russell was placed in a restraint chair to allow healthcare workers to examine him and was subsequently transported to the hospital without charge.

According to Russel’s claim filed back in June, he suffered damage to his nose, facial bruising, swelling and excessive bleeding, as well as damage to his face.

The claim also alleges Russell was unlawfully treated while at the detachment, that officers forced him to leave the hospital without receiving the care he needed and that when Russell was detained at the detachment RCMP was negligent. It also alleges his Charter rights were breached claiming he was detained without being provided with a reason and not informed of his right to retain counsel immediately.

As a result of the incident, Russell claims he has now suffered embarrassment and suicidal ideation. He alleges he now suffers from PTSD, repeated and ongoing nightmares, anxiety, nervous shock, tenderness to his face and ribs and constant and severe migraines, among other issues.

S/Sgt. Janelle Shoihet, the B.C. RCMP’s senior media relations officer said Pietrzak remains assigned to administrative duties and his duty status is subject to continuous review and assessment.

An internal investigation of Pietrzak’s actions remains on-going. The findings of that investigation will be forwarded to the BC Prosecution Service for charge consideration.

None of the claims made by the AGC nor Russell have been tested in court.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

lawsuitRCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Father Charles has devoted his life to protecting and preserving natural habitats and has inspired generations of volunteers to work together to protect and preserve forests and rivers. Photo submitted
Valley environmentalist and Catholic priest-hermit Father Charles Brandt passes away

He devoted his life to protecting and preserving natural habitats

Carolyn and Steve Touhey came across a pod of humpback whales while on their boat Sunday, Oct. 25. Photo supplied
VIDEO: Boaters encounter pod of humpbacks near Comox

A Comox Valley family had a meeting with a humpback whale family… Continue reading

Candice Woloshyn prepares her flower beds for the next season at her ‘Dirty Girl Flowers’ farm in Merville. Despite the pandemic, Woloshyn was able to sustain her homegrown business as community members opted for regular deliveries of fresh cut flowers. Photo by Binny Paul/ Campbell River Mirror.
Vancouver Island flower farmers were blooming as the pandemic wilted everything else

Floriculturists saw increased subscriptions as fresh flowers became a ‘sight for sore eyes’ during isolation

The Bernice Friesen novel, “Universal Disorder,” will be launched via Zoom on Nov. 14. Photo supplied.
Fat Oyster Reading Series hosting online launch of new novel by Comox Valley author

Fanny Bay’s Fat Oyster Reading Series is going digital, for the launch… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A picture of John taken at Children’s Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River parking lot

The seven-year-old has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

Starting Saturday and continuing until April 3, the Comox Valley Farmers Market will operate at the Native Sons Hall and the parking lot between the hall and the Sid Williams Theatre. (File photo)
Comox Valley Farmers Market secures space

Starting Saturday, Oct. 31, the Comox Valley Farmers Market will expand its… Continue reading

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Most Read