Ex-Mountie who sued RCMP over harassment speaks out on Richmond officer’s death

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Click to play video: 'Developments in the case of a Richmond Mountie’s apparent suicide'

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The former RCMP officer who spearheaded a successful class-action lawsuit against the force over harassment, bullying and sexual assault is speaking out on the case of a Richmond Mountie believed to have died by suicide.

In the wake Const. Jasmine Thiara‘s death, Janet Merlo is renewing the call for an independent outside entity to review members’ complaints.

Read more:
‘I’d do it again in a second’: Woman behind RCMP lawsuit reflects on backlash, tolls

Merlo’s lawsuit was eventually settled in 2016, resulting in a $125 million payout for more than 2,300 female officers.






Developments in the case of a Richmond Mountie’s apparent suicide


Developments in the case of a Richmond Mountie’s apparent suicide – Mar 12, 2021

“As far as I can see nothing has changed,” Merlo told Global News.

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“That optimism I had on that day, and that faith that finally, with the settlement announced and their acknowledgement of all the wrongdoing, I thought things were going to change, and here we are again discussing the death of a member.”

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Autopsy ordered for pregnant Richmond RCMP officer who apparently died by suicide

Thiara’s body was found by Vancouver police officers on Richmond’s Moray Bridge about 45 minutes after calls to 911 reported a woman considering self harm on the night of Feb. 21, according to the Independent Investigations Officer.

The BC Coroners Service says the wound appeared to be self-inflicted, but the file remains open and the agency ordered an autopsy last week.


Click to play video: 'Richmond RCMP officer’s family raises concerns about apparent suicide'



Richmond RCMP officer’s family raises concerns about apparent suicide


Richmond RCMP officer’s family raises concerns about apparent suicide – Mar 9, 2021
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Thiara’s family said she was involved in a relationship with a senior officer that was not public. Her family’s lawyer also revealed Thiara was four weeks pregnant.

While the cause of Const. Thiara’s death is still unknown, the RCMP confirmed to Global News last week that it is investigating allegations of an inappropriate relationship with her supervisor.

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READ MORE: RCMP earmarks $100M in compensation for sexual harassment against female Mounties

Merlo believes Thiara’s case is yet another example of the need for systemic change in the force.

“This is why we’re here a decade later talking about the same issues, because nothing is changing and they’re not clamping down on the policies that are already in place,” she said.


Click to play video: 'RCMP report details widespread accounts of sexual abuse and harassment'



RCMP report details widespread accounts of sexual abuse and harassment


RCMP report details widespread accounts of sexual abuse and harassment – Nov 19, 2020

“Until the people it the RCMP, the members, have a safe place to go to to launch their complaints and have an entity that will deal with their issues honestly and openly, and with transparency, nothing is going to change.”

Thiara’s family continues to push for an inquest into her death.

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READ MORE: Family questions mysterious circumstances leading up to B.C. Mountie’s apparent suicide

The Independent Investigations Office, which probes cases of serious harm or death potentially involving the actions or inactions of police, the BC Coroners Service and the RCMP are all investigating the death.

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— With files from Rumina Daya




© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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