Man kicked by B.C. Mountie speaks out
The man who was kicked in the face by a Mountie in Kelowna, B.C., is speaking out about his ordeal for the first time.
Buddy Tavares shared his side of the story in an interview with Kelowna journalist Kelly Hayes, who broke the original story of Tavares's violent arrest and captured the incident on video.
The story made national headlines when the video emerged, showing RCMP Const. Geoff Mantler kicking Tavares, 51, in the head during the arrest.
Police have repeatedly said they were responding to a violent incident of domestic abuse when Tavares was arrested. Although Tavares has been charged with careless use of a firearm, he has not been charged with anything related to domestic abuse.
"I don't know where any of this came from," Tavares said.
"I've never been talked to by the police about anything. They got me painted as some kind of wife-beater. My life has been turned upside-down and I'd like to know why. I'd really like to know what the hell I did to deserve this."
The incident started on Jan. 7, when police responded to a call reporting an employee of the Harvest Golf Club in Kelowna was on the property with a shotgun. Tavares has maintained he was using the gun to scare geese off the golf course.
Buddy Tavares's storyWatch the whole interview with Kelly Hayes on Castanet.net
"I go there every day. The superintendent and I talked about this, like we do every year. And I go up there, I scare the geese off the golf course. That's what I do. That's part of my job."
Tavares said he considers it his job, although he is not on the company's payroll. He said the golf course and its staff helped him after he sustained a brain injury in a motorcycle accident last summer, and scaring away the geese is his way of giving back.
Tavares insisted he always put the gun away when anyone else was on the property, and said he doesn't know who called the police that day or why.
Tavares, who was arrested on a Kelowna street after leaving the golf course, said he was shocked when he was pulled over and an officer, with his gun drawn, ordered Tavares out of his car.
"I've never had a gun pointed at me. That is beyond unnerving."
While the video shows Tavares being kicked in the face, then lying on the ground — handcuffed — in a pool of blood, he has no memory of the incident.
"The next thing I remember is being put in the back of the police car. I didn't see the foot coming. I didn't see anything. I was just on my knees and the next moment I'm being put in the back of the police car. The rest, I have no idea."
He had no idea what happened until he saw the video.
"Now it's why, and nobody can tell me why. … Why would you do that to anybody? I wasn't trying to run away."
Despite his frustration and confusion, Tavares said the incident has not changed his opinion of the police.
"There's good and bad in everything. Some people are very good on their jobs; the guy sitting beside him might be a complete loser. There's good and bad in everything," he said.
"I don't stay mad. I don't. I mean, I have a lot of animosity toward this guy, I do … [but] I don't have the time and I will not put the effort in to being mad. [It's] a little counterproductive."
The good that's come out of the ordeal, he said, has been the overwhelming support from the community.
"Cars are pulling up, rolling their windows down, and wish me the best of luck and, I mean, there's a lot of negative comments, and rightly so. People are really upset."
Mantler, the officer involved, has been suspended with pay and is facing both internal and criminal investigations.