The man caught on camera being arrested in downtown Kelowna last month has filed a lawsuit against the officer who struck him multiple times.
Kelowna resident Tyler Russell filed the notice of civil claim on June 17 in B.C. Supreme Court, outlining six legal actions against the Attorney General of Canada, the B.C. Minister of Justice, and Const. Siggy Pietrzak.
In the claim, Russell alleges he was sitting in the passenger seat of his work vehicle in downtown Kelowna when he was approached by two RCMP officers. They requested that he get out of the vehicle, but the claim states he didn’t see why he needed to get out of the vehicle as he wasn’t in violation of criminal offences or city bylaws.
According to the civil claim, Russell was asked to provide a breath sample. However, he refused to provide a breath sample as he was not driving, he was not in control of the motor vehicle, and he had no car keys in his possession or near him.
The suit outlines the event which had been caught on video, showing Russell struggling with two officers when a third officer, presumably Const. Pietrzak, arrived on scene running in and punching him repeatedly.
According to the claim, Russell 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.
Shortly after the video of the arrest surfaced, Kelowna RCMP Supt. Brent Mundle said at a news conference that Russell was uncooperative at the time of the incident.
“Because of the difficulty in safely bringing the man under control, the officers requested a third member attend the scene,” he said.
“When the third officer arrived, he observed the man was still resisting arrest. In order to gain control of the situation, and for the safety of the officers, he was struck several times and was then taken to the ground and handcuffed.”
Cst. Pietrzak, who has been on the force for three years, has been placed on administrative duties as he undergoes an internal review, according to the detachment.
Black Press Media has reached out to the Kelowna RCMP for comment on the lawsuit.
As of Thursday at noon, no responses had been filed by any party named in the suit. An update will be provided when more information becomes available.
None of these allegations have been proven in court.