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Indo-Canadian Ex-Cop Sues Abbotsford Police For Not Accommodating His Mental Illness

Ravinder “Rob” Thandi became “obsessed” with a young single mother. He committed benefits fraud when he lied about their relationship in order to add her and her son to his employee medical plan. Obsessed with her safety, he also searched her name in the police database 11 times over two years.

ABBOTSFORD – An Indo-Canadian ex-cop has filed a lawsuit against the Abbotsford Police Department which will examine the obligation employers have to accommodate people with mental illnesses.

In 2012, former APD Const. Ravinder “Rob” Thandi became “obsessed” with a young single mother. He committed benefits fraud when he lied about their relationship in order to add her and her son to his employee medical plan. Obsessed with her safety, he also searched her name in the police database 11 times over two years, reported the Vancouver Sun.

But Thandi believes the investigation into his actions was unfairly handled by the APD.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in B.C. Supreme Court, Thandi claims the APD, City of Abbotsford and Abbotsford Police Board, as well as APD Chief Bob Rich and deputy chief David Shmirler, did not adequately consider how mental illnesses contributed to his case.

The former cop, who was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder in 2005 and bipolar disorder II in 2009, argues the defendants “negligently and/or intentionally inflicted mental distress on him” throughout the investigation process.

Thandi was eventually arrested and charged with benefits fraud. In 2015, he pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud and received a conditional discharge and one year of probation. He was fired from the department after a disciplinary hearing.

“This critical loss of judgment and an inability to stop oneself from doing things that are seriously wrong is not something that can be accommodated in this profession, even when there is a finding that the misconduct is non-culpable,” reads a portion of the Abbotsford Police Board’s decision quoted in the lawsuit.

But Thandi claims APD Chief Bob Rich “targeted him” by dismissing him for his lack of judgment, a “hallmark” of his mental illnesses, according to the lawsuit, reported the Sun.

None of the claims in the lawsuit have been proven in court.

According to the lawsuit, Thandi joined the APD in 1994. Both of his mental illnesses were known to the department, and while he was sometimes absent because of depression, he made a “valuable contribution” to the municipal police force.

Between 2012 and 2014, Thandi queried the woman’s name 11 times in the police database out of an “obsessive concern for her safety,” says the lawsuit. But when the woman began dating someone else, the relationship ended. Thandi asked for her to be removed from his benefits plan.

In 2014, the woman’s boyfriend contacted police with information that Thandi had acted improperly. The woman gave information about the benefits fraud and described her previous relationship with Thandi as “purely platonic, and his romantic pursuit of her as unwelcome.”

The APD suspended Thandi and asked the Police Complaints Commissioner to investigate. The department did not tell the commissioner about the officer’s mental illnesses or obtain a psychiatric assessment to determine if OCD or bipolar disorder were linked to his behaviour, says the lawsuit.

In June 2014, Thandi was “lured to a Starbucks on his birthday with an invitation of coffee by a former supervisor.” He was arrested and charged with benefits fraud totalling $2,526.54.

He was later released, and police held a news conference. They did not mention the “modest amount” of money involved, says the lawsuit. Thandi’s family was shocked, reported theSun.

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