Victim of alleged police assault speaks out

A man who was allegedly assaulted by Kelowna Mountie Geoff Mantler is speaking out to CHBC News about the incident. Mantler is infamous for being caught on cell phone video kicking Buddy Tavares in the head in January 2011.

But five months before that, Manjeet Bhatti was trying to buy $60 of crack cocaine in downtown Kelowna. When the cops suddenly showed up, Bhatti bolted on his bicycle with police in pursuit.

Bhatti says he soon stopped and surrendered with his hands up in the air.

He says he was handcuffed and was not resisting arrest when out of the blue, Mantler allegedly blindsided him with a blow to the face.

“I heard stomp stomp to the right of me and as I was turning, I got hit with either an elbow or a fist,” Bhatti tells CHBC News. “From there, I hit the ground and my glasses broke. I had a cut above my eye and my nose was bleeding.”

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When Bhatti asked the cop why he was struck, Bhatti says he was told, “Because you’re a stupid, crackhead Hindu”.

Bhatti says he confronted the officer and told him that he was going to make a complaint.

“He said, go ahead. This isn’t the first time somebody’s complained against me,” Bhatti said.

While being cross examined during the assault trial, a defence lawyer suggested to Bhatti that he accidentally got hurt when he hit his head against the light bar of a police cruiser while resisting arrest.

Bhatti vehemently denies the claim.

“That’s not true at all. I was not resisting arrest. I was peacefully handcuffed,” he said.

Bhatti is in disbelief about the Mountie’s alleged behavior.

“It’s just non-professional. You wouldn’t expect that from a police officer making an arrest. I think he’s just a rogue cop that does not belong on the force. I think he’s got some kind of anger issues or some kind of issues, which we all do, but a person like that should not be allowed to be a police officer,” he said.

Mantler is charged with one count of assault and has pleaded not guilty. He has refused to make comments to the media but is expected to testify in his own defence.