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Mantler an RCMP scapegoat?

Editorial, Castanet Staff (Castanet) – Geoff Mantler’s lawyer has come out swinging against the RCMP and Superintendent Bill McKinnon.

Neville McDougall accused the force of throwing his client ‘under the bus to maintain the integrity of the RCMP.’

He made the comments Tuesday afternoon on the steps of the Kelowna Courthouse minutes after entering a plea of not guilty on two counts of assault causing bodily harm on his client’s behalf.

Mantler did not appear in court Tuesday.

“The general consensus among many members is that Geoff Mantler was thrown under the bus based on public perception and to try to maintain the integrity of the RCMP as a unit as opposed to what he was acting on that day,” says McDougall.

“It’s unfortunate, and, quite frankly, I expect more from people of the rank of Superintendent and Deputy Commissioner to take a look at a 30 second or 45 second video and take that as being the complete story.”

The video McDougall speaks of was taken by Castanet Video Editor Kelly Hayes. It shows Mantler kicking Buddy Tavares in the face while the officer was making an arrest.

McDougall says Mantler is frustrated with the way he is being treated by the RCMP.

“As you know, he had his pay stopped. That matter may proceed in federal court.”

McDougall says a lot of things came into play in the not guilty plea beyond the video tape.

“There has been a lot of miscommunication as to what the nature of the call was, what the RCMP were responding to,” added McDougall.

“There’s been no discussion as to what supervision was being provided to these junior members, and the members on the scene at the time were effectively just over three years for the senior parties. No NCO’s were responding for no apparent reason.”

“I’m saying Const. Mantler was faced with a situation and he conducted himself in what he thought was an appropriate manner. Whether or not it’s found to be mistaken doesn’t necessarily mean it’s criminal.

Mantler is also charged with assaulting Manjit Singh Bhatti in August of 2010.

He is scheduled to appear in court again July 19.

Tavares has launched a civil suit against the RCMP, the City of Kelowna, Province of B.C., Geoff Mantler and the female officer who was also present during his arrest.

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Categories: Excessive use of Force, Mounties Breaking The Law, Mounties Charged.

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