The Buddy Tavares assault:
Protests speak louder than words

It was just another routine kick in the face
but someone caught it on video. Now a planned
demonstration has Kelowna Mounties worried

Jan. 16, 2011


Just as I was about to upload my final blog post on this site — this time discussing the futility of someone trying to take part in public discourse as an individual, as opposed to a powerful person, a designated victim or a member of a special interest group — news comes out that Kelowna RCMP are rattled by the prospect of a demo.

Unfortunately, that’s what it takes to get through to police, politicians, media and other people of influence.

The Buddy Tavares case is typical of a lot of police assaults. Tavares seems to have broken no laws, but more importantly in this context he immediately complied with police instructions to get down on his hands and knees. For that, RCMP Const. Geoff Mantler kicked him smack in the face.

Read more here.

That’s the ugly side of police culture. That’s what some cops join up for. Unfortunately for Mantler, journalist Kelly Hayes did a Paul Pritchard.

Not surprisingly, the RCMP responded with a smear. Tavares was a wife-beater, they said. The allegation turned out to be false.

When challenged, cops often show a smear reflex. The most outrageous example was the RCMP expeditionary force to Poland, which spent a fortune digging up minor and irrelevant info in an attempt to slander Robert Dziekanski.

As for the planned demo, those tactics have never been my bag. But, as I’ve found, an individual who’s well-informed but lacking in social status gets excluded from public debate. More on that here.

So I wish the protesters well. You certainly have a valid point. I just hope you don’t shout down people who try to talk with you and I really hope you don’t block traffic (a common Vancouver tactic that mostly screws up the working poor, elderly and others who rely on public transit).

What we really need, in addition to drawing attention to cop incidents like this, is informed public discussion about how to achieve police accountability. In that respect very little has changed since before Dziekanski’s death. More on that here and here.


Updates: When tough-guy Mantler booted Tavares in the face, the Mountie was already being investigated for an earlier assault. But the RCMP kept it quiet until after Mantler’s video debut. Now he faces two separate criminal assault charges as well as an investigation into a third incident. More...

Mantler still draws full salary and qualifies for automatic pay raises too. While RCMP brass continually claim they’re reviewing this policy, there’s no reason for optimism. More here, here, here and here.

Where did police get that “wife beater” smear — from the B.C. cops’ defamation database?

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