The B.C. Civil Liberties Association wants Kelowna RCMP to explain their actions in the wake of an excessive force scandal involving one of their officers.
Unsubstantiated allegations were made in the media against Buddy Tavares after video became public showing the Kelowna man being kicked in the face by an arresting RCMP officer on Jan. 7, said association executive director David Eby.
The officer who kicked Tavares has been suspended and the Crown is considering assault charges against the officer, as recommended by the Abbotsford Police Department, which investigated the incident.
'I don't think this does anything to improve their reputation.' —Criminologist David MacAlister on the RCMP
Eby said the association wants RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon and spokesman Const. Steve Holmes to explain why comments were made after the arrest alleging that it was somehow linked to domestic violence between Tavares and his wife.
The allegations were likely inaccurate, and even if they were correct, they were inappropriately released in an attempt to "smear" Tavares's character, said Eby.
Domestic violence denied
"The only reason we can think they would release it is would be to make Mr. Tavares look bad and the RCMP look good," Eby said.
But Tavares, 51, said both he and his wife deny any suggestion he was violent towards her.
"I don't know where any of this came from; she has no idea. She keeps saying, 'There was none.'"
Trudy Tavares agreed.
"I'm not threatened by Buddy whatsoever," she said. "I don't agree with it one bit."
Eby said the RCMP don't seem to have learned from the death of Robert Dziekanski more than three years ago.
The Polish immigrant died after being repeatedly stunned with a Taser and held down by a group of officers at Vancouver International Airport.
RCMP initially portrayed Dziekanski as a violent alcoholic.
"The man fell to the ground, yet still continued to be combative and fight," RCMP spokesman Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre said, hours after Dziekanski died.
RCMP promises explanation
An autopsy determined Dziekanski had not been drinking.
The report from the Braidwood Inquiry into Dziekanski's death blasted the RCMP's statements, calling them, "consistently self-serving … They painted Mr. Dziekanski in an unfairly negative, and the officers in an unfairly positive, light."
Simon Fraser University criminologist David MacAlister agreed with Eby's view that the same kind of police mistake appears to have happened in the Tavares case.
"I don't think this does anything to improve their reputation," MacAlister told CBC News Tuesday. "It just paints them in an even more negative light."
Eby and Tavares said they want the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP to examine the comments made by McKinnon and Holmes.
The force stands by the statements about Tavares, RCMP spokesman Sgt. Rob Vermeulen said Tuesday.
A review of the facts will, "determine why we said what we did at the time," Vermeulen said.