Image from a video taken of the arrest on May 30 in downtown Kelowna.

Image from a video taken of the arrest on May 30 in downtown Kelowna.

Kelowna officer at centre of punch-throwing arrest also faced 2018 complaint probe

Nathan Stroeder claims he filed a public complaint against Const. Siggy Pietrzak in 2018

A Kelowna resident is claiming he contacted the Mounties and the Civil Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) for the RCMP two years ago, over concerns about the behaviour of the same officer who is now on administrative duty following an investigation into an arrest that has led to a civil suit filed against the constable.

Nathan Stroeder decided to speak out about his 2018 encounter with Const. Siggy Pietrzak, after seeing a viral video of the officer punching Tyler Russel several times during an arrest in Kelowna in May.

According to a civil suit filed by Russell, 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; however, he did not. According to court documents, Russell was asked to provide a breath sample. He refused, as he was not driving. The civil suit outlines the event partially caught on video, showing Russell struggling with two officers when a third officer, allegedly Const. Pietrzak, runs to the scene and punches him repeatedly.

READ MORE: Kelowna man sues Mountie, province after viral arrest

Stroeder believes this situation could have been avoided had the Kelowna detachment followed up differently with his account of a situation involving Const. Pietrzak on the night of Feb. 5, 2018.

The incident led to Stroeder filing a complaint with the CRCC. A Sgt. Collins conducted an investigation into Stroeder’s allegations against Pietrzak, and copy of the investigation report was given to Stroeder in August of 2019.

That internal RCMP report outlines the details of Stroeder’s complaint.

Stroeder claims Const. Pietrzak arrived at his home to speak with Justin Trudel, a visiting friend, who some months earlier had been in a verbal altercation with his girlfriend at a home near Nakusp. Kelowna RCMP were aware he was in town, and sent an officer to Stroeder’s home.

The door was answered by Trudel., but Stroeder alleged Pietrzak walked into the home, did not identify himself, his rank or badge number or the reason he was at the home.

READ MORE: Top cop calls video of Kelowna Mountie striking suspect ‘concerning’

According to the sergeant’s report, Stroeder asked Pietrzak to go outside with his friend. Stroeder alleged Pietrzak was verbally abusive to him when he asked why the officer was on his property. The report states Stroeder claimed he was told he was going to be arrested for mischief, and Pietrzak moved towards him. Stroeder closed the door and called 911.

In his internal report, Sgt. Collins wrote that he found that Pietrzak did identify himself and explained he was at Stroeder’s home to conduct police business. Pietrzak did go outside with Justin Trudel as requested by Stroeder.

Sgt. Collins stated that Pietrzak found Stroeder to be agitated and loud, and swore at Pietrzak. His behaviour suggested he might physically confront the officer, wrote Sgt. Collins. He indicated that Pietrzak believed Stroeder to be intruding on his investigation and told him that if he continued he would be arrested for mischief.

The report stated that Stroeder’s friend was cooperative and compliant. Sgt. Collins did not find Const. Pietrzak to be verbally abusive to Stroeder. In regard to Pietrzak not providing Stroeder more information on why he was at the home, Sgt. Collins stated that under the Privacy Act police officers did not have to disclose information.

The report concluded that Const. Pietrzak was acting in the scope of his responsibilities and executed his duties lawfully.

READ MORE : Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

Stroeder told the News that despite the findings of the report, he believed Pietrzak to be combative that night and there needed to be further investigation into his behaviour.

After watching the video of Russell’s arrest last month, Stroeder took to social media and tracked down Const. Pietrzak’s sister, Kym. She had identified the officer as her brother to media and spoke out condemning his actions.

“It didn’t surprise me, but I was disgusted,” Kym said at the time. “I can’t believe he’s a cop. How is this justifiable?”

She encouraged Stroeder to also come forward with what had happened to him when he encountered Const. Pietrzak, hoping that there might be more people with similar stories to share.

When asked to confirm the authenticity of the report, the RCMP declined to comment on a specific case citing privacy legislation. They did say:

In general with respect to the RCMP’s Public Complaints Process, if a complainant is not satisfied with the manner in which a complaint has been disposed by the RCMP, the complainant may request a review by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP.”

Notably, the RCMP did not say, on or off the record, that there is anything wrong with release of the report.


@Jen_zee
jen.zielinski@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

RCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC CDC graphic showing weekly numbers of new cases by local health area.
Local health area records 11 new COVID-19 cases from Feb. 21 to 27

The Northwest has become the COVID hotspot in the province

The Smithers recycling depot was destroyed by fire May 9, 2019. (Thom Barker photo)
Curbside recycling pickup returns to Smithers

The Town will start collecting single stream, loose and clean residential recyclables April 12

Adam's Igloo sustained serious damage when the roof collapsed. (Facebook photo)
Roof collapses on Smithers landmark

Cleanup efforts underway at Adams Igloo and Wildlife Museum

Instructor and master artist Dempsey Bob (right) speaks to the crowd at the Terrace Art Gallery about the importance of cultural art on Feb. 7, 2020. Bob is a recipient of a 2021 Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts Artistic Achievement Award. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Northwest artist Dempsey Bob wins national art award

Renowned Tahltan-Tlingit master carver one of eight people to receive Governor General’s Arts Award

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

Most Read