Family of gunsmith killed in raid files $23M lawsuit against Toronto police board

The circle of relatives of a well known gunsmith who died after officials raided his workshop is suing the Toronto Police Provider for $23 million, alleging the”illegal” act led to Rodger Kotanko’s “wrongful loss of life.”

The remark of declare filed Tuesday morning at Simcoe Awesome Courtroom names 5 “John Doe” officials, Insp. Norman Proctor, Leader James Ramer and the Toronto Police Services And Products Board for his or her involvement within the Nov. 3 raid at Kotanko’s workshop in Norfolk County, Ont.

CBC Hamilton in the past mentioned that a TPS officer shot the 70-year-antique at the same time as executing a search warrant.

Kotanko is survived by his spouse, Xueqin Mai (additionally referred to as Jessie), daughter Minying, and sons Colton and Conner.

His circle of relatives, including his wife, who was once house while police arrived, raised questions about how the raid came about and why they never won or saw a seek warrant until over a month later.

“No quantity of cash can ever make up for the loss of Rodger, but a $23-million lawsuit makes a press release,” Michael Smitiuch, the circle of relatives’s lawyer, informed CBC Hamilton on Monday.

“It makes a press release that his life mattered, what came about to him is unacceptable, and it additionally makes a press release as to the horrendous and critical losses his circle of relatives have suffered.”

TPS prior to now would not comment on the case, mentioning an lively research via the Special Investigations Unit (SIU). CBC has contacted TPS for comment on the lawsuit. The courthouse said Tuesday that no remark of defence has yet been filed.

The claims haven’t been proven in court docket and CBC has no longer seen search warrant documents.

Seized handguns allegedly linked to Kotanko

The lawyer told CBC they won the quest warrant documents from TPS in December. 

Smitiuch mentioned the ones documents allege pistols seized in Toronto and North Bay closing 12 months with their serial numbers shaved off have been linked to Kotanko. The lawyer mentioned police allege Kotanko unlawfully transferred the weapons to someone.

Smitiuch and the family deny the allegation, announcing Kotanko followed the rules and he used to be knowledgable sufficient to know shaving off the serial quantity and inscription wouldn’t entirely do away with them. Smitiuch brought although the allegation is true, he shouldn’t have died as a result of it.

Smitiuch and Kotanko’s brother, Jeff Kotanko, mentioned the gunsmith had a log e-book with all of his information and transactions, however can’t get right of entry to it as a result of Toronto police have it.

The family’s statement of claim takes issue with the warrant, alleging officers did not do sufficient analysis whilst making use of for it.

Family of gunsmith killed in raid files $23M lawsuit against Toronto police board

a photo of Kotanko and his wife, Jessie, is held by way of Kotanko’s son Conner. The circle of relatives’s lawyer, Michael Smitiuch, status in entrance, says they deserve solutions. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

The observation additionally claims officers used “irrelevant and prejudicial information” approximately Kotanko to get the warrant approved.

Smitiuch said TPS pointed out two convictions Kotanko confronted whilst he was 19, greater than 50 years in the past: One was once for ownership of hashish with the motive of trafficking and the opposite was for illegally construction a gun.

Smitiuch and Jeff Kotanko aspect to how despite these charges, he was once still a licensed gunsmith for many years, passing regular inspections via Ontario’s chief firearms officer.

“what is the prospective relevance of those events, i don’t know,” Smitiuch said.

Jeff Kotanko defined the gun associated with that previous conviction as a flintlock pistol very similar to what may also be noticed in Pirates of the Caribbean and mentioned the gun did not take any bullets.

He also said Rodger Kotanko never dealt medicine and the charge says there has been reason of trafficking on account of the amount of cannabis he had.

Police raid was once unlawful, legal professional says

The statement of claim states TPS watched the gunsmith at his house on Nov. 2, 2021, and carried out for a firearms search warrant they wanted to execute the following day on an “urgent foundation.” On Nov. THREE, the warrant got approval and police moved.

The remark also claims individuals of the Integrated Gun and Gang Process Force, Firearm Enforcement Unit and Firearm Data Analysis Unit allegedly set up a staging flooring near Kotanko’s house and workshop on Port Ryerse Highway. In Addition They reportedly introduced an ambulance, it says.

Police monitored Kotanko that morning, the remark says. just before midday, Kotanko and his wife arrived house, where an apparent customer was looking forward to Kotanko.

At approximately midday, officers struck, the observation says. 

Family of gunsmith killed in raid files $23M lawsuit against Toronto police board

The door into gunsmith Kotanko’s workshop was once closed off due to an SIU research. He died after a Toronto police raid on Nov. 3. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

The observation says an officer shot Kotanko four occasions at the same time as the alleged customer was once throughout the workshop. It’s unclear what took place to the obvious consumer. The family says they still don’t know the person’s identity.

The statement says police would not allow Mai near Kotanko as he used to be being positioned into an ambulance and sent away.

“He was once a loss of life guy and the police wouldn’t permit her to get near Rodger, and in order that has led to her great unhappiness, grief and she is traumatized through all of the events of that day,” Smitiuch mentioned.

In Depth

Renowned gunsmith killed in Toronto police raid. Family, mavens need to know why

CBC prior to now spoke with neighbours and circle of relatives who said they noticed police arrive that day. In Addition They mentioned police apprehended Mai at gunpoint in entrance of their house, sooner than they approached Kotanko’s workshop, shot him and sent him off in an ambulance that they arrived with, and native police most effective arrived after the raid.

The statement says TPS seized many pieces, together with firearms and Kotanko’s cellular phone, but by no means presented somebody with a seek warrant. Smitiuch stated there are doubts any of the officials had a bodily replica of the hunt warrant once they carried out the raid, which might make the raid unlawful, he mentioned.

The statement additionally states TPS hasn’t accounted for greater than $20,000 in money taken from Kotanko’s secure in his workshop.

“Without brave folks like his circle of relatives stepping forward and announcing, ‘This isn’t proper,’ we won’t make change, we cannot discover the truth,” Smitiuch mentioned.

Family of gunsmith killed in raid files $23M lawsuit against Toronto police board

Kotanko’s house on Port Ryerse Street sits left to his gunsmith workshop. The circle of relatives’s lawyer says Kotanko did work for native police, the army and international clients. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

The circle of relatives says Kotanko’s dying will have been have shyed away from with higher making plans. The state of claim says it didn’t “consult and co-ordinate” with local police and ” didn’t take steps to recognize or detain Rodger in a location that might have minimized the possible for harm.”

“Why may you let somebody cross right into a development full of guns if you are seeking to do a search warrant … you’re endangering your self, that purchaser, the individual you are going to do the search warrant on,” Jeff Kotanko said on Monday.

for the reason that raid, the observation says, members of the family “continue to suffer, physically, psychologically and emotionally.” The remark says they’re experiencing nightmares, flashbacks and melancholy, among other problems, on account of the incident.

SIU, TPS investigations ongoing

SIU spokesperson Kristy Denette advised CBC Hamilton investigators are nonetheless pursuing an interview with a civilian. Denette prior to now said the SIU spoke to seven witness officers and civilian witnesses.

The officer who shot Kotanko declined an interview and declined to surrender his notes, SIU said, as is his felony right.

Family of gunsmith killed in raid files $23M lawsuit against Toronto police board

Kotanko with his son Colton. (Submitted by means of Colton Kotanko)

Toronto police also are engaging in their very own interior investigation.

Spokesperson Connie Osborne advised CBC Hamilton in December the professional requirements unit started on the same time because the SIU research.

Osborne stated the research is ongoing and main points can’t be launched unless the problem is heard at a disciplinary tribunal.

Toronto police officer who shot well known gunsmith may not consult SIU

Kotanko was once born and raised in Norfolk County and grew up on a farm along with his siblings, in keeping with his brother. 

The gunsmith’s corporate — Dark Global Buying And Selling Company, additionally referred to as RK Customized Weapons — operated out of his workshop. He repaired and changed weapons whilst also transport and selling them, in line with the website.

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