In the summer of 2012, Mantler is scheduled for trial on an unrelated assault of another innocent citizen. That story is covered in Second Assault Allegation Against Cst. Geoff Mantler.
See also my story Circle the wagons, blame the victims and the letter of complaint by the BC Civil Liberties Association about the Tavares assault and subsequent media releases by the RCMP.
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Hours before a planned protest march in Kelowna, police announced they will recommend to prosecutors a charge of assault causing bodily harm against RCMP Cst. Geoff Mantler. I caution there is a long way between this announcement, formal charges and an actual trial, much less a conviction with consequences.
Without retracting any of the complaints in this and other articles in Northern Insights regarding RCMP failures, I accept this particular case has been handled more expeditiously than any other high profile police assault. The accountability remains inadequate and still too much delayed and the force needs to prove this results from dedication to higher standards of conduct, not a response to public pressure.
Nevertheless, it could be a beginning of needed change. We have seen more RCMP discipline taken in public recently than ever before, some not under the focus of intense scrutiny. To that limited extent, I applaud Sup't Bill McKinnon. May other commanders follow his lead.
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If you wonder why Olympics 2010 security cost almost a billion dollars, the case of 31-year-old Joe Bowser provides an illustration. One illustration out of thousands, perhaps more.
Bob Mackin of 24 Hours has the story at The Tyee:
A Vancouver software developer . . . Joe Bowser, 31, . . . received 79 pages by mail on Jan. 10 showing how the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit deemed him a “person of interest”, spied on him and monitored his blog, Tweets and Facebook updates. . . The file, which said he had no criminal record, includes copies of his Facebook and Twitter pages. . .You can bet the cost of assembling that one file was immense. Police officers, including staff working near endless overtime, were handsomely paid to monitor the actions and writings of a law abiding citizen, one who has committed no crimes but failed to applaud the corrupt Olympics movement with sufficient enthusiasm.
Const. Georges El-Azzi’s report detailed his failed Jan. 19, 2010, attempt to interview Bowser after a four-and-a- half-hour stake-out of Bowser’s Nitobi Software workplace. El-Azzi’s superiors decided Feb. 6, 2010, to take no further action.
I can guess they have a file on me as well. I was trained as a Volunteer Observer by the British Columbia Civil Rights Association. I even took out membership in the BCCRA and visited Observer HQ on Vancouver's downtown east side, which was under occasional surveillance by security forces. Undeclared Liberal leadership candidate Harry Bloy, MLA for Burquitlam put the police on notice about "limited intellect terrorists" threatening the province because they did not understand "how the world truly operates." I was one of those, I guess.
Perhaps I was dangerous also because I too did not applaud the games. Instead, I blogged the Origins of our traditions, telling the story of how Nazi Germany helped develop ancient Olympic folklore by carving the five-ring emblem onto a stone alter in Delphi, Greece. Germans thought the symbol, which originated about 1920, would gain distinction if people thought it actually dated back more than two millennia. Potential terrorist that I might be, I sourced that story from one of the largest journals of radical subversion, the New York Times.
I learned today about Joe Bowser's 79 page RCMP file, the same day I heard about the Mounties damage control effort in Kelowna. Supt. Bill McKinnon held a news conference to say:
“I want to ensure the public that senior members of the RCMP hear loud and clear what the general public's views are in relation to the video that has been shown across the country . . . We realize the processes are not moving as quickly as most people would like, but everyone must understand that the processes must be followed . . ."
Police action was swift and brutal when it involved Tavares. Not quite so swift when it came to Mantler. He was congratulated by other officers for his successful take down of the prisoner and that might have been the end of things except that one of those little video cameras captured the swift kick. Once that hit the Internet, Mantler was placed on "administrative duties." As public outrage grew, Mantler was sent home on suspension, with full pay. That is a situation where people can be parked for years at a cost of about $100 K a year. (We cannot forget the infamous Cpl. Monty Robinson.)
Although, the assault and battery by Cst. Mantler was plain, captured on video and witnessed by other police and private citizens, he didn't spend time in a jail cell and no charges have been laid against him. We are asked to wait patiently while police complete an investigation of police. Check back in 2013 for a progress report.
However, RCMP did lay a charge immediately against Tavares, for careless use of a firearm. Apparently that did not need a full investigation by a team of senior investigators. The firearm charge would involve the shotgun Tavares was transporting, with trigger lock attached; the one he used at the nearby golf course to frighten birds from the facility, as part of his job. RCMP initially spun a story to the media about a domestic abuse situation involving their victim but police court filings make no mention of it and Tavares' family acknowledges no abuse, other than that by Cst. Geoff Mantler.
Once again we see that police can move quickly when it comes to arresting, injuring and slandering private citizens but not quite the same speed when one of their own is involved. It reminds of a statement in my Economics 100 course long ago. They were teaching about supply and demand dynamics and explained that if money to lend was in short supply compared to demand, interest rates would rise quickly. However, if the reverse were true, interest rates would be slow to reduce. As the author put it, "Interest rates tend to be volatile upwards and sticky downwards." Justice is like that. It can be swift if the bad guys don't wear uniforms, shirts and ties. Its forward progress can be particularly sticky when colleagues investigate colleagues in the justice industry.
Should Supt. Bill McKinnon be surprised if a public demonstration is held on the steps of the Kelowna RCMP detachment? Perhaps instead he should explain how an RCMP officer can assault a non-threatening, compliant citizen, drag him off to jail battered and bleeding, lock him up for days under confused circumstances and then RCMP quickly lay criminal charges and go out of their way to slander the citizen with an accusation and implication they back away from days later. I also want to know how another police officer can witness the original assault and battery and not arrest the perpetrator.
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