Toronto cop who arrested drunk-driving off-duty officer harassed by co-workers

A Toronto internal police disciplinary ruling found that Constable Andrew Vanderburgh was "harassed and berated" by other cops because he insisted on booking an off-duty cop whom he'd caught driving drunk. Vanderburgh, a rookie, brought in Breton Berthiaume based on a phoned-in tip about an erratic highway driver. Berthiaume, an off-duty cop, failed a breathalyzer. When Vanderburgh went ahead and booked the other officer, his fellow cops objected, and began a campaign of harassment and intimidation. The Toronto Star's Betsy Powell reports:

“Constable Khawaja is purported to have stated on more than one occasion that evening to different informants that he wanted nothing to do with the arrest of a fellow police officer,” Reinhardt wrote.

Vanderburgh, meanwhile, continued to pay a price.

After Berthiaume was released, Vanderburgh drove a marked police vehicle back to his division and was followed by a 22 Division cruiser driven by Const. James Little.

Little pulled him over and gave him a ticket for allegedly disobeying a red light, which was later dismissed. Last year, Little pleaded guilty to one count of discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act.

Little chose “to disregard his professional obligations and embark on a course of retaliatory action against a colleague performing his sworn, lawful duty,” Supt. Robin Breen wrote in his ruling.

Rookie cop takes heat for arresting off-duty officer (via Reddit)


  1. It’s okay everyone, see, there are good cops out there!  And their colleagues treat them with the respect they deserve for doing their job and upholding the law!

    Wait, they weren’t harassing the DUI cop?  Well, that makes no sense…

    1. I am sure there are good cops out there, and then they are treated like this and either leave or decide to conform to the nature of their coworkers to avoid the hassle.
      Maybe just maybe if we held them more accountable than we do now, or even on par with “regular” people we could get change.

      1. This is where I keep hearing people mis-use the phrase “bad apples.”

        “Oh, you shouldn’t criticize the whole force because of a few bad apples,” they’ll say. Like their presence will only ruin the perception of the whole.

        The point about bad apples is you need to remove them as quickly as possible.

        1. The whole “brotherhood” mentality run amok.
          There are assholes in every subset of society, it is how that subset deals with them. 
          With police it has devolved to an Us vs Them mentality, where if a cop does something wrong they close ranks to protect the public image… but the truth is every time they do that they add to the reasons no one respects or trusts them anymore.
          The people charged with upholding the law need to meet and exceed the same rules everyone else is supposed to follow.
          A cop drunk driving needs to face the same treatment as everyone else.  It might be a 1 time thing (we all make stupid mistakes sometimes) or it might be a sign of something more serious.  But to try and coverup the event, and refuse to uphold the law because of who committed the crime destroys faith in the system.

        2.  People have forgotten that the full saying is “One bad apple will rot the whole barrel.” As you say, if there’s a bad apple you need to get rid of it, ASAP.

      2. “Maybe just maybe if we held them more accountable than we do now, or even on par with “regular” people we could get change.”

        The problem is that “we” don’t get a chance at all to do this–they have their own private “legal” system, Internal Affairs, whose job is to sweep stuff like this under the rug and protect the bad majority. It’s exactly like criminals having their own separate court system. It’s a joke, and we’re the victims. 

        It’s a scam, and no one asks us what we think. Just this once, the system worked the way it’s advertised–one can only imagine what went on behind the scenes for that to happen!!

        1. You pay taxes.  Your elected leaders make these decisions for you.  They tend to react when you point out they can be recalled or voted out of office.
          All it takes it showing the corruption in the system to the public, and getting them motivated.
          Millions vote for American Idol, a cop breaks the law and its covered up should be just as important to people.

      3. You say this like a normal “regular” person wouldn’t harass and intimidate the new guy that rats on their co-worker of X years, and get away with it. ( I think they would. )

    2. It’s okay everyone, see, there are good cops out there!

      Did you really want to go with the plural there?

      1. There is a normal cop out there, it´s just all the bad apples that make him look good.

  2. From the article…
    “Two other officers, including a staff sergeant who failed to intervene, were disciplined in the incident. One was also docked 20 days’ pay, the other 15.
    “Those penalties are at the upper end and reflect seriousness of what happened and demonstrate the determination of the service to hold people accountable in a meaningful way,” Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash said Tuesday.”

    docked pay for trying to violate the law…  how is this acceptable.obviously docking pay or vacation days will not actually fix the problem…

    1. At least its a month pay for the first one. Usually it’s two or three days.

      1. only costs 10 vacation days to pepperspray women inside a containment fence who are unarmed and following police instructions.

      1. Only if someone goes to the effort of actually making a report and following up on it.

  3. Oh and the police union has chimed in…

    “McCormack said the “optics” of a perceived thin blue line are bad but it’s not a systemic issue and, while the police culture of protecting their own may have once existed in Toronto, it doesn’t any longer.”–toronto-police-union-decries-officers-protecting-their-own

    Ummm yeah its not really happening, this is isolated… maybe your unfamiliar with the news recently.

    1. You’d think that people would be ashamed to spew that drivel, but it seems to appear in about half the news stories on any given day. Nothing to see here folks. Keep moving.

      1.  Except McCormack and Pugash (The Chiefs mouthpiece) have no shame.

        McCormack was found guilty of insubordination and labelled it the same as not filing a report on time or not wearing black socks with the uniform…

      1. As a naval officer I abhor the implication that the Royal Navy is a haven for cannibalism. It is well known that we have the problem relatively under control, and that it is the RAF who now suffer the largest casualties in this area.

      2. May I take this opportunity of emphasizing that there is no cannibalism in the British Navy. Absolutely none, and when I say none, I mean there is a certain amount, more than we are prepared to admit, but all new ratings are warned that if they wake up in the morning and find toothmarks at all anywhere on their bodies, they’re to tell me immediately so that I can immediately take every measure to hush the whole thing up. And, finally, necrophilia is right out.

  4. I’m not surprised by this at all. Take a look into McCormack’s background…

    June 19th is going to be a ‘fun’ day. The first of the G20 tribunals start. The sh!t is really going to start hitting the fan then…and by sh!t, I mean bullsh!t excuses…)

    1.  This story with its “No snitching!” message kinda helps to paint the cops as just another gang.

      1.  They’re a legal gang here in Tampa Bay.  Same process, complaints ignored, evidence lost, rule by intimidation.  No surprise there is a strong “No Snitch” code here and a very high loss of officers.  Sadly it appears they were very good officers.

      2. An uncle of mine had been in a street gang and eventually became a police detective. Basically, he just switched colors.

  5. Make the shit visible and show support for the good cops. The internets will improve things, but it’s a slow process.

  6. The Star neglected to mention that the Halton cop is going to get off Scott free, thanks to the unreasonable delay in due process. Come February the case will be thrown out, and he will have no record of the incident.

    I know this is the case, having been subpoenaed as a witness to a DUI case where the same thing occurred. Somehow case records were misfiled TWICE and the subpoena was never issued until 9 months after the incident. 4 months later I show up in court, and the case is promptly thrown out for undue delay.

    These guys know how to play the system, that’s for sure.

    1. One suspects that prosecutors, DAs, and the like know that meeting the ‘scumbag menaces taken off the street’ quota required to eventually run for elected office is so much easier when you maintain good relations with the police…

      1.  I am comforted slightly by the fact that at least the Halton cop had his car impounded for a few days after he failed the breathalyzer. That’s a mandatory outcome of  “blowing over” in Ontario, though it wasn’t mentioned in the report.

        Normally I am against punishing people for crimes without due process…  There is also a mandatory impound law associated with Ontario’s street racing and “Stunting” legislation, which includes a large fine as well. Cops charge someone they don’t like, take their car for a week and then a very large percentage of cases are later lost in court because they should not have been charged under that law in the first place.

        But in the case of a DUI, I can see the wisdom in it, no question.

  7. Finally an officer of the law that takes the job of PUBLIC SAFETY seriously – too bad he’s in Canada……

  8. It’s easy to focus on the negative aspects of this story, the corruption and collusion of “bad cops”. But let’s take a moment to celebrate the good part of this story. I am not Canadian, but I’d still like to thank Andrew Vanderburgh for doing the right thing. I hope that Constable Vanderburgh remains strong and principled. I hope that he remains a member of the police force. I hope that the constant harrassment from his peers does not drive him out of his position. And I hope that the public’s perceptions of police as thugs and bullies does not also drive him out of the force. 

    It must be very hard to be an honest cop when everyone thinks you’re a thug. The dishonest cops think you’re a thug because you “turned” on one of them. The citizens think you’re a thug because of the uniform you wear and the fact that they don’t know you are the one guy who stood up for the right thing. You just look like another cop to them.

    What a thankless position to be in. I doubt he’ll ever read this, but I’d like to thank him anyway. Hopefully someone in Toronto will too.

    1. Not to take away from what he did but I think one of the important facts here was the guy was a rookie cop.

      Which tells me they are training them right, but once hired, the system, or the job, changes them from doing the right thing, to something else.

      Maybe he isn’t so much a good cop, only that hasn’t turned into a bad cop yet.

      Anyway I know I am being pretty pessimistic here, but really just like a DUI should not be tolerated, but harassment for doing the right thing is just as abhorrent, and should be hammered.

      I know I have had nothing but good experiences with cops (other than when they want to give me speeding tickets, but I don’t begrudge that really), and I have known a bunch, and they all seems like pretty stand up people. I’ve also heard that the job itself over time can really change some people (with all the BS, much of it repetitive, that they have to deal with).

    2. Besides that: 

      “Last year, Little pleaded guilty to one count of discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act.Little chose “to disregard his professional obligations and embark on a course of retaliatory action against a colleague performing his sworn, lawful duty,” Supt. Robin Breen wrote in his ruling.”It seems the system supports Vanderburgh.

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