Image from a video taken of the arrest on May 30 in downtown Kelowna.

Attorney General of Canada defends Kelowna Mountie involved in rough arrest

Tyler Russell filed a lawsuit against Const. Siggy Pietrzak in June of this year

The Attorney General of Canada (AGC) has denied excessive force was used in a May arrest in Kelowna during which a local Mountie was caught on camera punching a man several times in the face.

Tyler Russell filed a lawsuit against Const. Siggy Pietrzak, the B.C. Minister of Justice and the AGC after video of the offence went public in June 2020.

In a response to that claim filed earlier this month, the AGC denies Russell’s allegations that Pietrzak assaulted him, contending instead that Pietrzak’s strikes allowed officers to gain control over Russell.

“The AGC denies that the RCMP Members used excessive force in apprehending the plaintiff, or otherwise, and say that any force they used against the plaintiff was reasonable and justified in law,” reads the AGC’s response to the civil claim.

According to the AGC’s response, on May 30, 2020, an RCMP officer located Russell in a vehicle that, upon investigation, he was found to be driving without permission of the owner.

Upon request, Russell got out of the vehicle and officers noted a strong smell of alcohol, prompting them to seek a breath sample. At that point, the response claims, Russell became agitated.

Based on Russell’s “yelling and aggressive behaviour,” the officer sensed the situation escalating and requested back-up.

Another officer arrived and unsuccessfully attempted to assist the first officer in restraining Russell.

It was then Const. Pietrzak arrived on scene.

“(He) applied multiple closed hand strikes to the plaintiff’s head in order to gain control over the plaintiff. The constables were then able to bring the plaintiff to the ground, place handcuffs on him, and move him to the back of Const. Donahue’s police vehicle,” stated the AGC.

In the vehicle, the filing alleges, officers found half a bottle of hard alcohol behind the passenger seat; a glass pipe with unburned white powder, believed to be either cocaine or methamphetamine; and a flap of white powder, believed to be either cocaine or methamphetamine, in a wallet that contained Russell’s identification.

READ MORE: Kelowna man sues Mountie, province after viral arrest

READ MORE: Kelowna officer at centre of punch-throwing arrest also faced 2018 complaint probe

While being held at the RCMP detachment, Russell asked for medical attention. The suit claims upon the arrival of EHS personnel, Russell was “yelling and acting aggressively” towards them.

Russell was placed in a restraint chair to allow healthcare workers to examine him and was subsequently transported to the hospital without charge.

According to Russel’s claim filed back in June, he suffered damage to his nose, facial bruising, swelling and excessive bleeding, as well as damage to his face.

The claim also alleges Russell was unlawfully treated while at the detachment, that officers forced him to leave the hospital without receiving the care he needed and that when Russell was detained at the detachment RCMP was negligent. It also alleges his Charter rights were breached claiming he was detained without being provided with a reason and not informed of his right to retain counsel immediately.

As a result of the incident, Russell claims he has now suffered embarrassment and suicidal ideation. He alleges he now suffers from PTSD, repeated and ongoing nightmares, anxiety, nervous shock, tenderness to his face and ribs and constant and severe migraines, among other issues.

S/Sgt. Janelle Shoihet, the B.C. RCMP’s senior media relations officer said Pietrzak remains assigned to administrative duties and his duty status is subject to continuous review and assessment.

An internal investigation of Pietrzak’s actions remains on-going. The findings of that investigation will be forwarded to the BC Prosecution Service for charge consideration.

None of the claims made by the AGC nor Russell have been tested in court.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

lawsuitRCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The road into Crofton will be a lot nicer when the roller coaster bumps are taken out of Crofton Road. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Crofton Road improvements to start taking shape Nov. 2

It’ll be a long haul until next summer to get it done and motorists should expect delays

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor has expressed concerns about the excessive freighters parked in the Salish Sea for quite some time. (Photo submitted)
MacGregor introduces bill to address freighter anchorages

Concerns about the environment, noise, pollution and safety abundant

Email letters to editor@wltribune.com.
Letters: Ladysmith’s litter lethargy

LSS student Gar Fisher writes that people need to properly dispose of their cigarette butts

Doug Routley has retained his seat as Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA. (Photo submitted)
Routley retains his post as Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA

NDP stronghold in the riding continues despite a strong challenge from the Greens’ Istace

The temporary public washroom located between 531 & 521 1st Avenue will soon be removed to begin construction on the permanent downtown public washroom facility. (Cole Schisler photo)
Construction on downtown public washroom to begin ‘before Christmas’

Council and staff discussed the possibility of a contest to determine the colour of the washroom

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Harvesters participating in the extended commercial halibut season will need to land their catch in either Prince Rupert (pictured), Vancouver, or Port Hardy by Dec. 14. (File photo)
B.C.’s commercial halibut season extended three weeks

COVID-19 market disruptions at the root of DFO’s decision

Campbell River's new hospital, July 2018
Nurse diverts opiates and falsifies records at Campbell River Hospital

Nurse facing disciplinary action for moving opiates out of the hospital

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

A heavy police presence was spotted in Lumby, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Facebook)
Police situation leads to ‘hold and secure’ at North Okanagan school

Police call for social media blackout in ongoing incident

Most Read