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Royal Canadian Mounties face billlon dollar lawsuit over claims of bullying

The Independent logo The Independent 6/25/2018 Alina Polianksaya

a group of people riding on the back of a horse © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited Better known as the Mounties, Canada's Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) force has reportedly been hit with a C$1.1bn lawsuit over accusations of bullying, intimidation and harassment, according to reports.

Led by two RCMP workers, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported that the case could become a class action lawsuit joined by thousands of former and current staff and volunteers.

Lodged in the country's federal court last week, staff sergeant Geoffrey Greenwood and sergeant. Todd Gray, told of the troubles they faced within the organisation.

Sgt Greenwood told CBC he was “demonised” after reporting allegations of corruption that were made against colleagues, when he was working on a drug investigation in the town of Yellowknife, in 2007.

In the lawsuit, he claimed a woman told him an officer had taken $60,000 (£34,000) “for information”, and heard surveillance tapes accusing other officers.

After reporting it, he claimed that his managed “wanted to bury the issue” and the he ended up facing internal charges before being transferred out of the team.

Describing the actions as "bullying", Staff Sgt. Geoffrey Greenwood, who now works in Red Deer, added: "I ended up kind of leaving a shell of a person. Your whole character is torn apart and stripped down and you're villainised."

Sgt Todd Gray, the second main plaintiff, had a seemingly desirable job as part of the RCMP Musical Ride in the 1990s, which involves teams of staff showing off their equestrian skills on horseback.

But he said things were not as picture-perfect as they might seem. 

He told CBC: "This is the image of the RCMP. That's just the show. But the struggles that go on with travelling, and favouritism, and bullying, and being blacklisted for speaking out ... those are the things that don't come out."

The case claims he was made to ride in the horse trailer several times, and that in 1998 he was made to ride a horse that was notorious for bucking, despite having an injured back. He claimed he was left with injuries after the animal fell on his leg after rearing up.

Later, he moved to work in Nunavut and alleged in his court papers, that a higher up member of staff "frequently abused the local First Nations populations."

The lawsuit added that the commander ended up "kicking Mr. Gray in the face when he tried to kick a 16 year old First Nations boy in the ribs."

He alleged that he faced a series of repercussions after reporting the incident

The 53-year-old who now works in Airdrie, Alta, told CBC that the “same issues” were “always there”, adding: “It doesn't change across the country."

The prosecution is seeking $1bn in damages, an extra $100million in punitive damages and an additional $30million in compensation for family members of employees. 

If the case is classed as a class action, it could cover anyone who worked for the RCMP and experienced "bullying".

The RCMP has previously faced a harassment case in 2016 which led to a settlement for thousands of female officers over claims of sexual harassment and discrimination.

The RCMP has not responded to the case yet as the papers were only filed on Friday.

The Independent has contacted the RCMP for comment.

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