NANAIMO, B.C. — A Mountie who responded the night Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski died at Vancouver’s airport has filed a lawsuit alleging RCMP negligence and harassment in the handling of his case.
Const. Gerry Rundel has filed a statement of claim in British Columbia Supreme Court naming the Attorney General of Canada and B.C.’s minister of justice as defendants.
The document alleges he was made a “scapegoat” after Dziekanski was repeatedly stunned with a Taser and died at the airport in October 2007.
“It was a direct and foreseeable consequence of the negligent conduct of the RCMP and members of the RCMP, either individually or in combination, that the plaintiff would sustain severe psychological and resultant physical damage,” says the 19-page document filed in a Nanaimo court.
None of the allegations have been proven and no statements of defence have been filed.
A spokesperson for the provincial ministry of justice declined to comment on the case, saying the ministry has not yet been served and has not seen the allegations contained in the notice of civil claim. The Attorney General of Canada could not be reached for comment.
Information released by the RCMP after the death was incorrect and mismanaged, the claim alleges, stoking public criticism of the four officers who responded in the Dziekanski case.
“His name and image are well known to the public and associated with highly critical comments about him made by the RCMP,” the court document alleges.
All four officers were charged with perjury relating to testimony they gave at an inquiry into Dziekanski’s death. Rundel was acquitted of the charge last April.
When one of his colleagues was convicted of the charge, Rundel spoke out, telling the media that the force needed to stand up for officers who act according to their training.
The statement earned him a written condemnation and Rundel was warned that any future comments “would be dealt with via a Code of Conduct investigation,” alleges the statement of claim.
Rundel is on long-term sick leave for post-traumatic, but the court documents say a supervising officer pressured him about a timeline for his return to active duty, even though he had not been cleared by a doctor, leaving the constable feeling “harassed, belittled and bullied.”
The court document maintains Rundel has been a “loyal member” of the RCMP and has “been prevented from publicly defending himself to the wrongful allegations about him both by the RCMP and the media as a result of his oaths and orders received by superior officers.”
He has suffered “permanent and irreparable harm,” extreme embarrassment, loss of reputation and financial loss because of how he has been treated by the RCMP, the document says.
“As a result of the negligent conduct of the defendant, the plaintiff’s career with the RCMP has been effectively destroyed and any other future career path seriously and adversely affected,” the document alleges.
The claim does not specify how much Rundel is seeking in damages.
— By Gemma Karstens-Smith in Vancouver
The Canadian Press
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