RCMP constable Desmond Sandboe was caught on RCMP surveillance video beating the crap out of a prisoner inside the Lac La Biche RCMP detachment. It is admirable that Crown Counsel moved forward with charges, and that he was actually convicted of assault. Where the system breaks down is the double-standard for sentencing of police officers.
For the brutal and apparently unprovoked beating of Andrew Clyburn on Sept. 13, 2009, Sandboe has been sentenced to... go home.
Yeah, three months house arrest and another three months with a curfew. It is outrageous, ridiculous and brings the administration of justice into disrepute. (to say the least!)
Why do I say it's a double-standard? Or that police get lighter sentences than you or I would in similar circumstances?
Let me ask you this:
If it was Andrew Clyburn who brutally attacked and beat Constable Desmond Sandboe to a pulp, do you seriously believe he'd have been sentenced to three months house arrest?
Not on your life. He'd be spending many years behind bars.
But not a convicted thug like RCMP constable Desmond Sandboe. I don't give a rat's ass that he hopped in front of the first video camera he could find to tell the world he's really a nice guy who just made a mistake. I really don't. Mistake or not, if anyone should be held to a higher standard, to be held accountable for their actions, it should be RCMP constables who are sworn to protect the public.
And why did Sandboe feel the need to attack Clyburn and beat him to a pulp?
Clyburn told CBC News the 40-second attack started when he corrected Sandboe for mispronouncing his name.
If that's all it takes for this convicted thug to snap, then I'm happy to hear the RCMP wants him off the force permanently. He's been on unpaid suspension since charges were laid, and for that we can all be thankful.
Sandboe has been suspended without pay and faces a discharge hearing, said RCMP Assistant Commissioner Marianne Ryan following the sentencing.
“The conduct of this individual member is not only a disappointment to Canadians, it is also very discouraging for all of the men and women who work in law enforcement,” she said.
"It will be our recommendation that he is discharged from the RCMP," said Ryan.
Given how hard it is to get rid of someone from the RCMP, I wish her luck. Hopefully it won't be too hard though, since this is not the first time Sandboe has run into trouble of his own making.
Adam Morrison, an Edmonton city police officer, complained two years ago about alleged mistreatment when he was pulled over by Sandboe.
"It was a terrifying experience being threatened to be Tasered a couple of times and assaulted," Morrison told CBC News last November.
"The RCMP has to wear this," said Clyburn's lawyer Tom Engel following Sandboe's sentencing. "The RCMP failed to protect the public."
That's for sure.
What is appalling is that RCMP Constable Sandboe doesn't think he's a bad cop. He's just "misunderstood"...
Sandboe said he still thinks he's a good cop and he wants to return to active duty.
"I still am a Mountie right now," he said. "I've got a lot of pride. I've got a lot of good times and experiences with the Mounties.… I miss the camaraderie. I miss the guys."
Well then, I guess you shouldn't run around threatening to tazer other cops or beat the crap out of people for daring to correct you when you've incorrectly pronounced their name.
Maybe then I'd think about giving you a second chance. However, since your repeated actions prove otherwise, I hope you're kicked off the force tomorrow, and that this haunts you for a very long time.
But far more than either of those things... what I really hope and pray for you, Constable Sandboe, is this:
That you get the help you clearly need to deal with whatever demons are hiding in your head. Because if you don't, these two cases won't be the last we'll be hearing about you from a courtroom.