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

Surrey council sets new rules for Good Citizen of the Year award

Candidates have more hurdles to jump before getting nominated for the prestigious local title

OUR VIEW: Wards for Surrey worth a hard look

Ward system divvies up city into neighbourhoods with a council member representing an electoral region

White Rock funds cultural activities moved online by COVID-19

Museum, community orchestra receive production grants

‘Best of Cloverdale’ contest returns

Voters can cast ballots once a day until Sept. 5; enter to win $250 gift card for Save-On-Foods

EXPLORE SURREY: Tee up some adventures in the city

Also: A walk through Surrey’s public art collection

STANDING TALL: For some, B.C.’s forest industry is the best office in the world

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Deaths feared after train derails amid storms in Scotland

Stonehaven is on the line for passenger trains linking Aberdeen with the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow

DFO says 5 aggrieved B.C First Nations were consulted on fisheries plan

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations calls response ‘a sham,’ adding DFO never incorporates their views

Friends do ‘amazing’ home makeover for retired police officer

Pitt Meadows RCMP veteran was away getting treatment for PTSD

Lower Mainland woman gives birth on in-laws’ driveway

Frédérique Gagnon new son is appropriately named after Norse trickster god

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

UPDATE: Two dead after fishing boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

VIDEO: B.C. community rallies to save snared eagle

Revelstoke climber scales tree to save the raptor

Most Read