NEWS

Mark Saunders to talk police carding at African Canadian Summit

04/29/2015 08:12 EDT | Updated 08/04/2015 10:59 EDT
Toronto's new police chief will speak to some of the city's black community today addressing police issues like carding, racial profiling and police use of force.

Mark Saunders will give a speech at the second African Canadian Summit. He's also expected to address disclosure of non-conviction record and anti-black hate crimes.

Saunders is the city's first black police chief. He is stepping into the role during a turbulent time between the force and some minority communities. His predecessor, Bill Blair, oversaw the implementation of Toronto's controversial carding policy, which allows officers to collect information from residents even if they have committed no offence.

After his selection, Saunders told reporters that he will do everything in his power to provide a bias-free, respectful police force.

"Community relationships determine the success or failures of our service," he said. "I do not take this lightly."

Summit wants to start dialogue

The summit aims to bring to light how African Canadians in the greater Toronto area experience higher rates of socio-economic disadvantage. It will address violence reduction, outcome equity and good jobs in a changing economy, according to a site describing the event.

It seeks to start a dialogue with government leaders and other vested parties.

"We aim to address the root causes of youth violence and the ongoing disparities affecting our community, and develop an action plan that features concrete measures and long-term solutions to ameliorate the imperilled conditions and disparities facing too many in the black community," said Janice Gairey, of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, in a statement.

The summit is organized by the African Canadian legal clinic, Midaynta community services, the Coalition of black trade unionists, the Ontario federation of labour and the Canadian labour congress.

Toronto Mayor John Tory is also expected to attend the event and make a speech.

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