Here’s a story out of Toronto that could easily be from any American city. A rookie police officer arrested another officer for drunk driving and has taken all manner of abuse from his fellow officers for daring to cross the thin blue line and thinking that cops should be subject to the same laws they enforce on others.
It’s an impaired driving case like thousands of others except it involves a rookie Toronto police officer who crossed the thin blue line and paid the price.
Const. Andrew Vanderburgh was “harassed and berated” by fellow officers because on Nov. 28, 2009, he arrested and charged an off-duty police constable with impaired driving and having a blood-alcohol level over 80 milligrams, according to an internal police disciplinary ruling.
Some officers also allegedly called Vanderburgh a “rat,” Justice Paul Reinhardt wrote in a pre-trial ruling…
Reinhardt, who is no longer the judge in the Berthiaume case, said in his pre-trial ruling that disclosure he reviewed alleged Khawaja “refused to assist Constable Vanderburgh in the arrest and preparation of paperwork at 22 Division.”
“Constable Khawaja is purported to have stated on more than one occasion that evening to different informants that he wanted nothing to do with the arrest of a fellow police officer,” Reinhardt wrote.
Vanderburgh, meanwhile, continued to pay a price.
After Berthiaume was released, Vanderburgh drove a marked police vehicle back to his division and was followed by a 22 Division cruiser driven by Const. James Little.
Little pulled him over and gave him a ticket for allegedly disobeying a red light, which was later dismissed. Last year, Little pleaded guilty to one count of discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act.
Little chose “to disregard his professional obligations and embark on a course of retaliatory action against a colleague performing his sworn, lawful duty,” Supt. Robin Breen wrote in his ruling.
That’s actually pretty mild. Far worse things have happened to cops who arrest other cops.