SIMCOE, Ontario, Jan. 18, 2022 /CNW/ - The family of Rodger Kotanko believes the gunsmith did not have to die. In a civil suit filed against Toronto police, the family alleges police unlawfully executed a search warrant and used excessive force when they shot and killed the 70-year-old in a military-style take down at his home outside Port Dover on November 3, 2021.
"The Kotanko family is holding Toronto police to account, so this doesn't happen to someone else," said Michael Smitiuch of Smitiuch Injury Law PC, the lawyer representing the Kotanko family. "Rodger Kotanko wasn't able to defend himself, or his reputation, but his family will."
In the Statement of Claim filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Kotanko's family is seeking $23 million in damages from the Toronto Police Services Board, five officers, including the officer who fired the fatal shots, as well as Inspector Norman Proctor, head of the Gun & Gang Task Force and Police Chief James Ramer.
In the Statement of Claim, it's alleged that the search warrant was unlawfully executed, as it was not presented the day of the raid and was obtained using irrelevant and prejudicial information. It's also alleged that police recklessly targeted Kotanko, negligently planned the raid, and exercised excessive and unjustifiable force when they stormed his home workshop on Port Ryerse Road, firing four shots into him. It's also alleged that the officers unlawfully detained and restrained Kotanko's wife and prevented her from providing him with comfort after he was shot and was dying.
The search warrant executed by Toronto police alleges that two handguns seized in Toronto and North Bay last year contained serial numbers that were "professionally" removed, and that once restored, could be traced to Kotanko's business.
"Rodger was a skilled gunsmith, who took great pride in his profession and treating customers fairly and honestly," said Suzanne Kantor, one of Mr. Kotanko's siblings. "The alleged grounds for obtaining the search warrant are not in keeping with who Rodger was and how he conducted his life."
Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has been assigned to the fatal shooting.
SOURCE Smitiuch Injury Law PC