A man involved in the trial of an alleged assault by a Kelowna officer claims that he did not commit any crimes when he was arrested on May 30, 2020.
While on the stand in Supreme Court on May 26, the third day of the trial for Const. Siggy Pietrzak, Trevor Russell claimed that he was “wrongly arrested,” punched in the face and injured by the officer.
Pietrzak was charged with assault in April 2021.
Const. Jacqualine Davidson took the stand on May 24 and recounted her version of events leading up to the alleged assault.
On the day of the incident, Davidson was dispatched to investigate a call about a man that appeared intoxicated walking around a parking lot. When she arrived, Russell was sitting in the passenger seat of a white truck.
After speaking to him, Davidson concluded that he had committed no crimes, and unless he drove the truck, was not a threat. She said that Const. David Carter then arrived, and offered to watch the vehicle to ensure Russell did not begin to drive.
Carter said that he approached the parked vehicle when he noticed Russell had moved into the driver’s seat. He demanded Russell get out of the truck and take a breathalyzer test, under suspicion of impaired driving.
He then called for backup after he said the situation began to escalate.
Russell claims that he was not in the driver’s seat and was not in possession of the truck keys. He stated he had given his brother his truck keys and was waiting for his ride home when Carter approached his vehicle.
“I didn’t want to be in the driver’s seat. I didn’t want to be accused of drinking and driving,” Russell testified.
An investigation of the vehicle after his arrest concluded that the keys were not in the truck or on his person.
Carter said Russell refused to walk to the police car for a breathalyzer test, was repeatedly asking to speak to his lawyer, and had “raised his voice.”
He then verbally arrested Russell for obstruction of justice. Carter attempted to handcuff Russell and a struggle ensued.
Russell said that he did resist arrest by trying to keep his hands apart because he did not believe he had committed any crimes.
Carter testified that another officer, Const. Donahue, arrived and assisted in the attempted arrest of Russell.
Donahue stated in court on May 25 that Russell was yelling, “What are you doing? What is going on?” while resisting arrest.
Carter claimed he and the other officer “were losing” in the struggle when Pietrzak arrived on the scene and ran towards them.
“He used closed-hand strikes to Mr. Russell’s face,” said Carter.
Carter said that while Russell’s face was being struck, he started bleeding. He went on to say that Russell never hit, kicked or injured him or any of the other officers.
The trial is ongoing.