A Kelowna RCMP officer has been charged with assault in connection with his actions during the arrest of a man that was caught on video May 30, 2020.
“The charges were approved by an experienced Crown Counsel with no prior or current connection with the officer,” B.C. Prosecution Service spokesperson Dan McLaughlin said in a press release announcing the single count of assault Wednesday.
Cst. Siggy Pietrzak was seen on video throwing numerous punches at a man who was being detained by other officers.
In a lawsuit filed by alleged victim Tyler Russell, Pietrzak ran into the situation and began levelling punches on him after two other Kelowna RCMP officers had asked him to step out of a work vehicle he was seated in near the corner of Queensway and Water Street.
“Without any hesitation, he began punching the plaintiff repeatedly, causing the plaintiff lacerations, damage to his nose, cuts on his face, facial bruising, swelling and excessive bleeding, as well as damage to his ribs,” the lawsuit reads.
The civil suit also alleges that Russell was handcuffed and “for no legal reason” taken to the detachment, where a bag was placed over his head and he was strapped to a chair.
“The plaintiff complained about feeling pain in his ribs and his face, and while blood was dripping from his face, the officers refused to provide medical attention to the plaintiff,” according to the allegations.
Russell was then taken to the hospital but was allegedly never seen by a doctor, according to the lawsuit.
After the witness video surfaced shortly after the incident, RCMP Supt. Brent Mundle, who was in charge of the Kelowna RCMP detachment at the time, told reporters that Russell was arrested for obstruction and struggled with police officers, and that the video only illustrated one short moment during the arrest.
No charges were ever levelled against Russell.
The allegations against Pietrzak have not been proven in court.
Cst. Pietrzak is set to make his first court appearance on May 3 in Kelowna.