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Suspended officer stripped of wages
The Kelowna RCMP officer facing two criminal charges for assault causing bodily harm will no longer be collecting a pay cheque from the police force.
Supt. Bill McKinnon announced Monday that Const. Geoff Mantler, of Armstrong, who has been suspended with pay since his highly publicized kick of Buddy Tavares in January, had been served with a stoppage of pay effective May 27.
“Stoppage of pay and allowances was approved for Const. Mantler on the rationale that the allegations of misconduct against him are so serious that they require a greater response than the suspension alone,” said McKinnon. “I must clarify that suspensions, either with or without pay, are not forms of punishment. They are temporary measures to protect the integrity of the RCMP and its processes while we are awaiting the outcome of both the criminal investigations and the internal codes of conduct.”
The decision, made by RCMP brass in Ottawa after the commanding officer of the RCMP in B.C. earlier recommended suspending the officer’s pay, came following public criticism about the officer remaining on the payroll after his suspension related to the Tavares case.
“I realize that this decision has been a long awaited one for Mr. Tavares and the general public and I appreciate your patience,” said McKinnon. “This incident and these past few months have been difficult and I recognize the impact it (has) had on this community.”
“Despite this, I want to ensure you that the members and employees of Kelowna Detachment remain very much dedicated to their jobs and performing to the standards that the citizens of Kelowna, the management of the RCMP, and I expect.”
McKinnon said this is the second time in his decade with the Kelowna RCMP that an officer has had his pay stopped.
Mantler’s pay removal comes nearly five months after he was removed from active duty in Kelowna.
The 28-year-old was suspended with pay shortly after the Jan. 7 arrest of Tavares, where Mantler was caught on video by Castanet kicking Tavares in the face while Tavares was on his hands and knees.
Mantler was charged with assault causing bodily harm in relation to that incident in March. A second assault causing bodily harm charge relates to an Aug. 30, 2010 incident involving Manjeet Bhatti, court records show.
While no longer being paid, Mantler is still receiving public funding for his legal defence, pending a review by the commanding officer of RCMP BC, Kelowna Mounties said Monday.
In addition to the criminal charges, Mantler is also subject to internal RCMP investigations. Those are complete and awaiting the commanding officer’s recommendations on the process, said McKinnon.
It is expected a tribunal based on the internal investigations will be held in the future to determine any sanctions and Mantler’s employment status, McKinnon said.