Two Black women allege racial profiling by Toronto bylaw officer

Jun 17 2020, 8:20 am

The City of Toronto has launched an investigation after a bylaw officer allegedly racially profiled two Black women in Centennial Park on Tuesday.

A video posted to Instagram yesterday by one of the women involved in the incident depicts both women questioning bylaw officer on why he asked for their identification and not for the identification of two other park users.

 

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“If this was my home I would be Licensed to shoot”~The words of M. Rushton

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They also asked the officer why he insisted on taking down their license plate number and not anyone else’s.

The other two people shown in the video, corroborated the claims made by the women and said that they were not asked for any form of identification.

“Are you serious? There are four people against your one word,” one of the women said as she was surrounded by the other woman and the two other park users.

In the video, one of the women also said that Rushton, the bylaw officer allegedly told them that “If this was my home, I would be licensed to shoot.”

After witnesses observed what was happening, one asked if the women needed help to which they responded, “Yes, we do need help.”

The City of Toronto has launched an investigation into the incident according to Mayor John Tory.

“No bylaw officer should ever threaten or even suggest violence. The allegations made are extremely disturbing and warrant a full and complete investigation by City staff – an investigation is already underway by municipal licensing officials with assistance from the Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit – City of Toronto,” said Tory.

Tory also that he will not be tolerating the alleged behaviour shown in the video.

“While we await the results of this investigation, I want to be clear that as Mayor I will not tolerate any City of Toronto employees engaging in behaviour that threatens residents or demonstrates anti-Black racism.”

After the City was made aware of the incident, it immediately initiated an investigation according to Brad Ross, the Chief Communications Officer for the City of Toronto.

“The City is aware of this incident at Centennial Park this morning and immediately initiated an investigation, which is being led by the Municipal Licensing & Standards division with help from the People & Equity division, and the City’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit,” said Ross.

Ross also said that he does not currently have a timeline on the investigations.

“The City is very much aware of the seriousness of the allegations, which is why it immediately launched an investigation into the entirety of the circumstances. I’m afraid I don’t have a timeline on that right now,” he said.

These allegations come after weeks of protests around the world due to the police killing of Floyd George in the US, and when last week, the Toronto Board of Health declared anti-Black racism a public health crisis.