Justice Mary Vallee

For Bullied Mountie, Favorable Judgment Comes 12 Years Late

For Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt. Peter Merrifield, the February 28 judgment in his favor took 12 years to arrive. Ontario Superior Court Justice Mary Vallee found that the RCMP had serially harassed the decorated investigator “beyond all standards of what is right and decent” according to an article in the National Post. He was awarded $141,000 to compensate for his emotional distress, which caused significant mental health issues, and the ruin of his professional reputation.

Law enforcement organizations are particularly vulnerable to becoming dictatorial cultures. By their very nature they require a rigid chain of command and an ability to confront difficult situations. If abuse of this power structure is allowed to set in, a dictatorial culture replete with bullying, harassment and abuse can be the result—as is the case of the RCMP. The organization has been the subject of numerous accusations due to their toxic dictatorial culture, which I discuss in my book, From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire.

Despite the judgment, Merrifield told the National Post that the abuse by the RCMP still continues, which is why he’s become a vocal advocate for RCMP unionization. While that might be a good first step, nothing short of a systemic, organization-wide review followed by extensive managerial housecleaning will change such a deeply embedded dictatorial culture.

Credit: Toronto Star