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Kick was like a melon hitting the floor

UPDATE 2:10 p.m. - Jeff Mantler changed his plea to guilty when court reconvened Wednesday afternoon. Details to come.

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An RCMP use of force trainer testified Wednesday that Cst. Geoff Mantler did not follow training procedure on the day he arrested Buddy Tavares in Kelowna.

Kerry Solinsky said after viewing the Castanet video from Jan 7, 2011, when the arrest took place, he concluded Mantler, whose trial is continuing this week, did not follow instructions he had received in high risk vehicle stop training.

Solinsky explained that typically in such a stop, once an officer identifies a vehicle they advise other members as to where the location is and to what the plan is. Once the stop is decided upon, the number one car then takes control of the situation.

The second vehicle then comes to the side of the lead vehicle and a third would be behind it, to keep traffic away. The goal being to form a V formation to ensure the safety of the public.

Once that is done, the officer in the number one vehicle will start to order people out of the suspect vehicle.

The only time an officer would approach the car would be in a rescue/hostage situation. 

In all cases during a high risk procedure, the training is to stabilize the area and wait for backup and if a suspect is gets out of their car, to stay in the police car.

Solinsky said he trained Mantler on May 5, 2008 and Sept. 16, 2010.

In the first, Mantler was part of a group of 33, training out in the field. He did not remember the officer's performance on that particular day. In the September training, which included classroom and practical sessions, Mantler followed training and was very enthusiastic.

During cross-examination, defence lawyer Neville McDougall asked if there were any single member stops during training. The witness said no. The lawyer further suggested things don't always go as planned in these types of stops, to which Solinsky answered, "Yes".

Kynan O'Rourke, who was working near where the vehicle stop took place on Jan. 7, said he saw the officer walk up to the driver's side of the car with his firearm out and ask the driver to put his hands up. He repeatedly heard the officer say "I want to see your hands.".

The driver looked confused, but put his hands up right away, the witness said. When he stepped out of the vehicle, he kind of slid out of the driver's seat and was given a command to get down. Around this time he recalled seeing Castanet's Kelly Hayes pull up and take out his phone.

He next saw the driver's feet and hands going down and the officer moving, which is where the kick came in.

O'Rourke did not see the kick, but could hear it. The sound was like a watermelon or cantaloupe hitting the floor, he said. At the time the kick was delivered, he saw Hayes wince. He also noticed a pool of blood pretty much right away.

The crown rested its case Wednesday morning, after calling several witnesses including officers who were at the scene, civilian witnesses and an expert in use of force. Mantler was expected to take the stand in the afternoon.



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