Trial got underway in Penticton’s B.C. Supreme Court chambers Tuesday morning for a man accused of uttering threats against and assaulting a police officer in Hedley. Dustin Godfrey/Western News file photo

‘Pure rage’: RCMP officer testifies in Penticton on alleged assault

Bremner E. Lance accused of assaulting a peace officer and uttering threats in 2016 Hedley incident

A video played in Penticton’s B.C. Supreme Court chambers shows a man accused of assaulting a police officer charging the officer, and taking him to the ground.

Bremner E. Lance is facing charges of uttering threats and assaulting a peace officer causing bodily harm for a Sept. 16, 2016 incident involving Cpl. Kendall Dean Oliver in Hedley.

In the video, Oliver is backpedaling as a man identified as Lance runs at him at a considerable speed, taking him to the ground, while the person recording the video yells “Bremner, calm down.”

Cpl. Chad Parsons then runs in and appears to strike Lance, and begins to attempt to put him in handcuffs. Oliver is then able to get out from under Lance.

Oliver testified in court Tuesday morning that he was called to a dark-coloured GMC Jimmy doing burnouts in Hedley at 4:30 p.m. Upon arriving, Oliver said he discovered an unlocked, black pickup truck parked facing south in the northbound lane, with licence plates matching the description provided.

That licence plate, however, came back as matching another vehicle. When he looked inside the vehicle, Oliver said he spotted a six pack with three beers missing, and keys on the dashboard.

Oliver said the vehicle identification number on the window came back as registered to Lance, and he instructed Parsons to patrol the area. Oliver said he had grounds to arrest the driver under the motor vehicle act and called for a tow truck.

Oliver said he spotted a man crossing the street nearby, and said he twice asked the man, later identified as Lance, if he knew who the vehicle belonged to, and the man began approaching him.

The man began cursing at Oliver saying the police had “f***ed with his life too much,” according to Oliver, who said he opened the front door of the truck to create a barrier between them.

“His face was red, as a person would if they’re in a rage. Again, the yelling, the obscenities,” Oliver said, adding he began to back away.

Oliver said he called for backup three times on the radio while he backed away from Lance, but got no response, noting Hedley is known for bad radio reception.

“At that point, I felt concern for my safety, and I tried to remove my OC spray, my pepper spray, without Mr. Lance noticing,” he said. “At that time, Mr. Lance said to me ‘if you spray me with that, you’re dead.’”

Oliver said Lance then charged at him and he used the pepper spray.

After the pepper spray made contact with Lance’s face, Oliver said Lance “football tackled” him, and he landed on his lower back, hitting the back of his head on the asphalt. That caused him to see stars, Oliver said, and the two grappled on the ground.

“We both got up. Mr. Lance threw a punch, hit me in the face. I again grappled with Mr. Lance as he was grappling with me. We went back to the ground, and I was concentrating on controlling his legs so he could not get up on me and gain control of me.”

As he tried to grapple with Lance, whom he described as being in “pure rage,” Oliver said the defendant bit his right forearm, causing an open wound just before Parsons arrived.

“I could hear Cpl. Parsons saying ‘let him go, let him go,’” Oliver said, adding he was then able to get out from underneath Lance, who Oliver said struggled as handcuffs were placed on him.

Crown is expected to call a total of five witnesses, including Lance, Parsons, an RCMP officer who took a statement from Lance at the Penticton RCMP detachment and two Hedley residents who witnessed the alleged assault.

Defence lawyer Don Skogstad said he would be challenging the voluntariness of the statement at the detachment, and that testimony will be going to a voir dire to determine whether that evidence can be entered in court.

Crown is expected to close halfway through Wednesday morning, followed by the defence’s case.

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Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

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