B.C. Mountie found not guilty of assault in impaired driving arrest

Arabnews24.ca:Thursday 1 December 2022 03:27 PM: A Kelowna RCMP officer who was seen on video punching a man several times in the head during an impaired driving arrest was found not guilty of assault in Kelowna Provincial Court on Thursday.

Judge Mary Anne Anderson found Const. Siggy Emmit-Steven Pietrzak used "necessary" force in the May 30, 2020, arrest of Tyler Russell.

According to RCMP, officers responding to reports of a suspicious vehicle in a parking lot found an intoxicated Russell inside the vehicle.

Police allege he was unco-operative and clenched his fists as he struggled with the officers.

WATCH | Video of the arrest:

Video shows RCMP officer repeatedly punching a man who is being restrained by officers

2 years ago
Duration 0:16
This video of an arrest by Kelowna RCMP has resulted in an internal investigation into the officer's actions.

Two videos of the arrest later surfaced. The original 12-second video shows Pietrzak arriving in a police vehicle and running to where Russell is struggling with two officers. It then shows Pietrzak punching Russell in the head at least 10 times while the two other officers restrain him.

The second video, 60 seconds in duration, shows a longer portion of the arrest.

According to RCMP spokesperson Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet, the results of an internal investigation into the arrest were reviewed by another police agency before the file was forwarded to Crown prosecutors for charge approval.

The charge against Pietrzak was sworn in April 2021. At the time, an RCMP news release said he was suspended with pay.

Tyler Russell claims he was left bloodied, bruised and swollen after he was punched repeatedly by an RCMP officer during an arrest in May 2020. (submitted by Bridge Law Corporation)

Russell launched a civil lawsuit against Pietrzak, the Attorney General of Canada and the B.C. Minister of Justice in June 2020, citing physical and emotional damages

Russell, who was 30 at the time of the incident, claimed in court documents he sustained "multiple lacerations to his face, damage to his nose, bruising of his face and bruising of his ribs" during the assault. 

He also claimed the assault left him with "serious injuries and consequences, including post-traumatic stress disorder, diminished self-worth, depression, anxiety and loss of enjoyment of life," among other challenges.

In his response to the claim, Pietrzak has said the punches were justified after he saw his fellow officers struggle to arrest Russell, who was "larger and stronger" than they were. 

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