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Expert testifies Mantler broke rules

A police expert in 'use of force' testified Thursday that Cst. Geoff Mantler did not follow any of the procedures taught in high risk vehicle stop training during the arrest of a suspect in Kelowna.

Mantler is charged with assault  causing bodily harm in the arrest of Buddy Tavares on Jan. 7, 2011. On that day former Castanet .net reporter Kelly Hayes shot video of Mantler kicking Tavares in the face as he knelt on the ground near his vehicle.

Sgt. Jeremy Lane's review of the incident was compiled using the video and documentation from investigating officers. He did not have a police statement from Mantler, he said.

Early in his testimony in the ongoing trial in a Kelowna courtroom, Lane, who is with the Abbotsford Police Department, described seven principals, including cover, time and distance, verbal communication and the one plus one rule used in use of force.

In Mantler's case he got out and approached the vehicle on the driver's side, which would not be in accordance with training, because he did not have backup and put himself at risk when he left cover, said Lane.

When he reached the driver's door he had  his firearm pointed at Tavares.  Around the same time Cst. Robyn Boffy appears and goes to the passenger side. At this point, Lane said, they are in the crossfire position, and Mantler may not have known she was there because he was so focused on the suspect.

When Tavares then  got out of the vehicle, he was too close to Mantler, meaning there was not enough space for the officer to react, Lane said.

if someone is going to spontaneously run at you, you need at least 15 feet he testified. The one plus one rule comes in to play as well here, which is officers need to assume if there is one weapon there could be more.

Then as Mantler instructed Tavares to get out, you hear him say "get down, get down, get down." In terms of verbal communication this is a vague instruction and Tavares may not have known what he meant.

As far as the kick, Lane explained he did not hear from Mantler so he does not know what his perception of the situation was. But to him it was not a significant enough threat to precipitate the action taken by Mantler.

An officer who arrived on the scene, shortly after Mantler and Boffy, said he thought he was responding to an incident involving an active shooter.

Once there, Cst. Frank Wilson said he saw Tavares on the ground with Boffy with him. Mantler was nearby looking around the vehicle.

He and Boffy picked the suspect up, and he noticed a puddle of blood on the ground and that Tavares' face was scraped and bleeding.

The trial is expected to go into early next week with another police officer and civilian witnesses testifying. The defence is not expected to present its case until sometime next year, in order to find an expert witness.

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