“Shocking but reasonable” was the final verdict in the assault charges against Kelowna Const. Siggy Pietrzak.
The RCMP officer was charged with assault in April 2021, following an arrest in downtown Kelowna in May 2020 was caught on camera.
Ultimately, the judge ruled Pietrzak was not guilty, stating the officer had few options when he arrived on scene and did not act with cruel intent.
Judge Mariane Armstrong said she considered the point-of-view of all involved parties, including the two videos submitted to evidence and putting herself in the defendant’s shoes.
Armstrong said Pietrzak had few options when he arrived on scene as a vehicle was behind the suspect, Trevor Russell, and the two officers already on scene were attempting to subdue the suspect from either side.
It was also noted that Const. Regan Donahue testified he considered use of his taser to force Russell into compliance, which Armstrong said suggested additional force was needed.
Before giving the final verdict, the judge commented on the testimony of Russell, saying he was not a reliable witness having lied to police about things such as having drugs in his butt and the amount of alcohol he consumed prior to the interaction.
Pietrzak’s actions have been described as imperfect, but reasonable.
Pietrzak had been suspended with pay while the trial was ongoing. It’s unclear if he has returned to the field.