Witness Files $2 Million Lawsuit Against Toronto Police and Gunsmith’s Estate

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In an unanticipated turn of events, an unidentified individual present during the fatal shooting of a Port Dover gunsmith, Rodger Kotanko, during a police raid in November 2021, has instituted a $2 million lawsuit against the Toronto Police Service (TPS) and the deceased’s estate. The claim is founded on the assertion that the individual, known only as C.W., was unnecessarily exposed to danger.

The lawsuit emerged from the incident at Kotanko’s Simcoe County workshop where authorities served a search warrant and, in the process, the 70-year-old Kotanko was fatally shot. C.W., being the only customer on the premises at the raid’s onset, argues that he was kept in the dark about the impending warrant execution, with the lawsuit alleging an excessive and unjustified use of force by the officers against both him and Kotanko.

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Present in Kotanko’s establishment at an unfortunate time, C.W. witnessed a man with whom he had recently been conversing be shot dead by police within arm’s length. The police, he alleges, threatened to shoot him if he moved and subsequently forced him to the ground and handcuffed him, all while keeping their guns trained on him.

Simultaneously, Kotanko’s family has also pursued a civil lawsuit against the TPS, seeking $23 million in damages and asserting that the warrant’s execution was unlawful and led to Kotanko’s wrongful death. Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), however, found no impropriety in the officer’s actions during the raid.

The failed to warn C.W. about the imminent raid is the hinge point of the 15-page lawsuit claim. C.W is found traumatized in the aftermath and continues with therapy, suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, preventing him from work, social activities, and everyday tasks. The lawsuit seeks damages for C.W. and his adult children for the mental and physical toll incurred in the ensuing turmoil.

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