Officers should be required explicitly to advise individuals of their right to walk away if they are not under arrest. The reason for the stop should be in the receipt provided. Officer training on systemic racism and racial profiling should be required. Data collection to create greater accountability should be standardized across police services.
Like most people that call this city home, I am deeply troubled by Sunday's shooting deaths in Toronto's Chinatown and the eight other gun-related deaths the city saw in January. This is obviously unacceptable, and police must be supported in their efforts to investigate and prosecute those responsible for these horrific crimes. That being said, most people would be hesitant to draw any clear conclusions about why we have seen a high number of gun crimes over the past month. Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association, the union that represents police officers, feels differently.
Women of colour who have spoken most openly and fervently on behalf of their male family and community members are often at the forefront of the debate surrounding police misconduct. Yet, women have also been victimized by the police and often in precisely the same ways as men -- police stops, shootings and racial profiling.
In a stunning about-face enlightened evolution, Toronto Mayor John Tory announced the end of carding in his city this week. As the congratulatory backslapping spread across Hogtown, the rest of the province and the rest of the country is left eating dust. For us, carding carries on. To eradicate carding in Canada, this case must be heard in the highest courts. Judges must remind all citizens, including mayors, premiers and prime-ministerial hopefuls, that equality and fairness are more than filatures for flowery speeches
Toronto's police board has gone from refusal, to resistance, to resignation, to recognition of the problem, to partial resolution (the PACER report) and now, to retraction, recalcitrance and regression. What happened to the commitment to a fair and equitable society, to bias-free policing? The TPSB is set to vote this Thursday on a policy that is offensive and insidious. This new policy not only eliminates the requirement to issue receipts, but it takes us back even further than we were a few months ago. Is this the direction of an oversight body and a civilian boss that was once committed to diversity and fair treatment?
I won't go into the details of black groups being marginalized at the hands of white people who dominate the "center," because if you're smart enough to think that you fooled us into feeling remorse for "leaving you out" during the protest in Toronto, then you're smart enough to do a Google search to figure out historical black oppression and its endless contemporary reproductions.
In the social context of Canada before the Quiet Revolution (1950s), before Viola Desmond's act of defiance (1946), before Rosa Parks triggered the United States' Civil Rights Movement (1955), Fred Christie stood up to institutional discrimination. A decade before the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1947), Fred Christie exhibited unimaginable courage and perseverance in asserting his civil rights. Though the judicial process did not deliver the desired result, Fred Christie remains a key instigator in Canada's journey towards the establishment of universal rights.
This past fall I was carded by a Toronto police officer near my own neighbourhood. It wasn't my first time. After returning home that day I did some research on the topic of police surveillance and came across Body Worn Cameras (BWC). They would prove that Toronto police disproportionately target minorities and community outrage in the city is justified. The truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all measure that restores public trust in police. But in Toronto, where there is a clear crisis of distrust between minority communities and police, it becomes clear that police officers might have to wear these Body Worn Cameras to regain some of that trust.
How long does it take a new immigrant to be profiled in Montreal? Before you hazard a guess, place "black male" in front of immigrant and "racially" in front of profiled. The answer in my husband's case? One week. Bob crossed an intersection beside two white pedestrians. Singled out by a white, French-speaking police officer, Bob was asked to produce his identification without an explanation of his "offense." By the way, the two white pedestrians with whom Bob crossed the intersection were not stopped and interrogated.
Rolihlahla "Nelson" Mandela is a global icon. His legendary ascension from prisoner to President is the stuff of fairytales. In this time of international mourning, our leaders should wipe their crocodile tears and reflect upon their actions, or lack thereof, in fulfilling the promise of racial equality which Nelson Mandela stood for. Mandela may no longer be with us, but his legacy, his message and his estimable struggle live on. They reside inside all of us who acknowledge that the pursuit of integration and equity belongs not in the apartheid past in a foreign land but in the bosom of our beloved nation.
At the AMAs, rapper Macklemore spent much of his precious acceptance speech time discussing the injustice behind the Trayvon Martin verdict. Here's a radical idea: if Macklemore is so disgusted by the Trayvon Martin ruling, he should be the one to lead Stevie Wonder's list of artists boycotting Florida until the Stand Your Ground Law is repealed.
With the recent event at Barney's, New York, it would appear that blacks should add S.W.B. or "Shopping While Black" to the list of supposed crimes for which we are racially profiled. Trayon Christian, a 19-year-old college student purchased a $350 Salvatore Ferragamo belt at Barney's, Christian alleges that he was stopped by undercover officers, questioned, hand-cuffed and taken to a local precinct.