Monty Robinson sues RCMP for breach of duty, alleged threats to legal funding
Former Mountie claims ordeal ruined his life
Former Mountie Monty Robinson is suing the RCMP for ruining his career and reputation, claiming his access to legal funds was restricted to stop him from going public.
Robinson claims that misinformation released by the RCMP after the death of Robert Dziekanski lead to a media storm that ruined his promising 16-year career and destroyed his reputation.
Dziekanski, a Polish immigrant, was jolted with a Taser and died at the Vancouver airport in October 2007.
Robinson was one of four Mounties who raced to the airport after police received reports that a distraught man was causing a disturbance.
Robinson's lawsuit against the RCMP claims that there was a breach of statutory duty and abuse of office.
None of the allegations has been proven in court.
Misinformation went uncorrected
The lawsuit argues that the RCMP's failure to "correct misinformation" ramped up public scrutiny and interest in the case, and created a perception of a "cover-up" by the four officers involved.
Soon after the event, RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre described Dziekanski as "combative" and said police used a Taser on him to "immobilize a violent man."
Those initial reports were later proven untrue by a bystander's video. Lemaitre's widow is also suing the RCMP, in the wake of her husband's suicide.
Robinson's lawsuit singles out former RCMP Commissioner William Elliot for also making allegedly "inaccurrate and misleading" statements about RCMP training policies around the use of a Taser and levels of force.
In 2010, Elliott agreed with the public inquiry findings on the death of Dziekanski, saying the officers "fell short" and did not properly "de-escalate" the situation.
Mountie struggled with PTSD
Robinson claims the ordeal ruined his life.
As the Delta B.C. man struggled with PTSD and alcoholism, he claims he endured ongoing threats from his superiors that legal funding would be withheld if he went public with criticism. He left the force in 2012
"Various representatives of the RCMP provided repeated warnings to the Plaintiff throughout this period that any public comment by him would result in immediate withdrawal of public funding for independent legal counsel," says the suit.
Robinson was the duty supervisor the night Dziekanski died at the airport,
Dziekanski was acting erratically when the four officers arrived and he was hit five times with a Taser before he died.
Amateur video of the killing caused public outrage, and Robinson's lawsuit claims that the RCMP's refusal to correct misinformation initially released, made anger at the four officer's involved much worse.
Robinson blames his superiors for the overwhelming public anger aimed at him and the other three officers — Constables Kwesi Millington, Bill Bentley and Gerry Rundel — involved the night of the death on Oct. 14, 2007.
The document filed in court on Friday said: "The RCMP's failure to correct the misinformation disclosed on the public record created an ever increased amount of public interest."
Robinson and the three other members involved "were subject to public hostility, death threats, and contempt while their policing careers and professional reputations languished," the document says.
Robinson said he struggled with undiagnosed PTSD, alcoholism and family strain, which affected his marriage and children.
In January of 2008, he requested help paying his legal expenses and was told he would be jointly represented with the other RCMP officers involved.
That led to a long dispute because he wanted to be independently represented. He won that right after it was determined no criminal charges would be laid against him.
In the meantime, Robinson was also convicted of obstruction of justice in a fatal motorcycle accident.
Robinson alleged scapegoat
Legal documents say that days before the public inquiry into Dziekanski's death, the RCMP released a statement that "Tasers can kill agitated subjects," which led to the public to "reach the unfounded conclusion" that the RCMP members used "wrongful and excessive" force in the Polish man's death.
Then in 2010, RCMP Commissioner William Elliott conducted a television interview providing "inaccurate and misleading statements" about RCMP use of force training policies.
Another RCMP official publicly apologized to Dziekanski's mother later that year, "signaling" that the members involved in Dziekanski's death "had engaged in wrongful and blameworthy" conduct.
The four officers were eventually charged with perjury for their testimony during the Braidwood Inquiry. None of the officers ever faced criminal charges for their actions related to the death.
Two of the officers were acquitted of perjury, despite the fact all four were repeatedly accused of colluding.
Robinson is set to appear in court on Tuesday Oct. 11 for the appeal of his perjury conviction.
If upheld, he could face jail time.
Const. Millington was sentenced to 30 months for his perjury conviction, but the judge said Robinson's case was more serious because of his higher rank.