Audio recordings and transcripts of dispatch from the day in question, as well as testimony from the second officer on the scene dominated the afternoon session of day two in the Geoff Mantler assault trial.
Cst. Robyn Boffy, 25, took the stand and testified she was the second person on the scene Jan. 7, 2011 and arrived just as Mantler was moving towards the driver side window of Buddy Tavares.
Boffy says she saw Mantler at the driver side door, but cannot remember what he was saying although she thought he was yelling commands at Tavares.
Backing up Mantler, she moved to the passenger side of the vehicle with her firearm in a low-ready position; looked in, saw Tavares. She explained she did a quick check for any weapons, but saw none.
When asked by crown counsel Will Burrows if she saw Tavares’s hands, Boffy replied they were visible, and she remembered not being concerned.
From this vantage point, Boffy testified she could not see Mantler. When Tavares began to exit the vehicle, that’s when she moved towards the rear in order to circle around. Boffy claims she made a mental note that Tavares was not being as co-operative as he could have been.
Boffy would expand on this, saying by the time she got out of her vehicle and moved up to the passenger side of Tavares’s truck, he had not exited. And by the time she had moved around to rear of truck, Tavares was not on the ground.
As Boffy came around the rear of the truck, she saw Kelly Hayes standing in the middle of the road shooting video, and at this point she turned her head to the right.
“I could see Mantler’s back and Tavares head facing down because he received a kick to the head in a downward position,” Boffy said.
Boffy said she could not recall hearing the impact of the kick and testified at this point Tavares was down on all fours. Boffy then moved to search and arrest Tavares, finding spent shotgun shells in his pocket.
Burrows then asked about proper procedure for an arrest of this nature.
“It would have been a code-5 takedown,” explained Boffy.
“’It’s usually done with more than one car. You open your door, use the PA system to let them know they’re under arrest and bring your gun out.”
She also acknowledged that while in training, she learned the first car on the scene should always wait for backup.
When asked about the state of the scene, Boffy admitted hearing some onlookers yelling, “police brutality” and could not answer who was in charge, stating only “I don’t know, jobs just get delegated.”
Upon cross-examination, defence counsel Neville McDougall brought up Cst. Boffy’s lack of experience in these types of scenarios, including the fact that her training officer had only been a member of the RCMP for less than two years. It was also noted that on the day in question, the highest-ranking officers on duty were two corporals – a position that is only one rank above constable.
McDougall also questioned Boffy’s communication skills at the scene. She could not remember if she made contact with Mantler, suggesting he may have acted differently if he had known backup had arrived.
Boffy also testified that depending on the situation, when a call comes in that a suspect has a brain injury, it’s fair to say there is a heightened risk, especially when a weapon is said to be involved.
Testimony will continue tomorrow with more officers expected to take the stand.
Here is the raw video showing the RCMP take-down.