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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Thursday’s blackout likely caused by vandalism

Power was out for 10,000 customers from Quick to the Hazeltons for almost 11 hours

VIDEO: Witset cannabis shop officially opens

The store, located at the gas bar on Hwy 16, is open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Police investigate July 2 homicide in Houston

Man succumbed to injuries at Pearson Road residence

Tahltan fighter from Telkwa wins provincial award

Lando Ball recognized for his commitment to and accomplishments in karate and for community service

RCMP patrol of smokehouse sparks concerns by Wet’suwet’en hereditary leader

Hereditary Chief Woos says he is feeling uneasy after RCMP attended the smokehouse with rifles

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Most Read