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

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

Vaccinations are set to resume in the small community of Tatchet, according to Lake Babine Nation’s Deputy Chief. (Black Press Media file photo)
Lake Babine Nation vaccine rollout resumes after a short pause

A COVID positive test within the care team had put the vaccinations on hold

Cheslatta Chief Corrina Leween received one of the COVID-19 vaccines on the Southside, on Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Submitted/Lakes District News)
COVID-19 vaccination begins in Burns Lake

Senior population, health care workers and First Nations among the first to get the vaccine

Sasquatch sighting. (Omineca Ski Club photo/Lakes District News)
Sasquatch on the loose at Omineca Ski Club

Head out to the trails to see if you can spot it; a tongue-in-cheek response from the club President

Two books in particular became quite popular at the start of the pandemic — Soap and Water Common Sense, The definitive guide to viruses’ bacteria, parasites, and disease and The Great Influenza, The story of the deadliest pandemic in history. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Burns Lake Public Library lent 20,916 books in 2020

Gained 67 new patrons throughout the year

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Most Read