NEWS

John Tory cites 'erosion of public trust' in push to ban carding

06/18/2015 06:50 EDT | Updated 06/18/2016 05:59 EDT
Mayor John Tory will ask the Toronto Police Services Board to permanently cancel the controversial practice of carding at its Thursday meeting.

Carding, a practice that allows police officers to stop and question individuals not suspected of criminal activity then log that information indefinitely in a database, has come under fire from those who say it amounts to racial profiling.

Tory had initially stood behind the police practice — which continues to be defended by Chief Mark Saunders — but changed his mind earlier in June as outrage grew.

"Despite the good-faith intentions of [Toronto Police Service] members in their encounters with the public, the degree to which 'carding' had a discriminatory impact on minority groups has led to an unacceptable erosion of public trust and confidence in the TPS," Tory said in the report he has presented to the board.

Tory says abolishing carding would allow the police to start with a "clean slate."

While the mayor is only one of seven votes on the police board, others have also spoken out against carding as well, including chair Alok Mukherjee who called it "deeply offensive."

Getting rid of carding would, however, require police to figure out what to do with all of the information they've gathered during the program.

Tory suggests the police board should work with several groups including the provincial government, the PACER committee (a group that's been charged with the goal of improving interactions between police officers and the public) and the Toronto Police Association to come up with alternatives.

The mayor said police need "intelligence-based tools" but said they shouldn't infringe on citizens' fundamental rights.

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