KELOWNA, B.C. – A former RCMP officer who kicked a suspect in the face while the man was on his knees has been handed a suspended sentence and 18 months probation by a judge.
Geoff Mantler pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm for kicking Buddy Tavares during an arrest in the Okanagan city two years ago.
The arrest, which was caught on video by a bystander, showed Mantler kicking the man as he was complying with police orders to get down on the ground.
Judge Greg Koturbash also ordered that Mantler have no contact with Tavares.
Mantler resigned from the RCMP, but if he goes back, the judge ruled Mantler must undergo use-of-force retraining.
Tavares was not pleased with the sentence.
“He’s got a list of assaults longer than my arm,” he said outside court. “It’s a long list; no convictions. So you can do whatever you want as long as you’ve got a good lawyer.”
When asked if Mantler should consider becoming a police officer again, Tavares replied “Not a chance”.
Mantler’s lawyer Neville McDougall, who was seeking a conditional discharge for his client, blamed the RCMP for inadequate training of its officers, including those involved in the Tavares incident.
“All of the officers that attended were inexperienced. I haven’t seen anything from management that they’ve stepped up and said we erred here, too,” he said.
Neville said the most senior member on the scene had just over three years experience.
During his sentencing hearing Tuesday, Mantler read a letter of apology to the court saying he was deeply sorry and regretted his actions.
The sentence means Mantler will have to report to a probation officer for the next 18 months.