One of Canada’s largest police forces admits using more force on Black people

Jun 15 2022, 11:01 pm

Toronto anti-racism activists are decrying an apology from Toronto police after the force released race-based data Wednesday that showed racialized people are more often subject to use of force and strip searches.

Black people in Toronto are 2.2 times more likely to be stopped by police and are 1.6 times more likely to have force used on them during the interaction. Other racialized people were also overrepresented in uses of force compared to their presence in the general population.

Although strip searches declined in frequency following policy changes in 2020, Black and Indigenous people were also overrepresented.

The Toronto Police Service was mandated to collect race-based data as part of the Ontario government’s Anti-Racism Act. The data analyzed was from 2020.

“The results have confirmed what, for many decades, racialized communities – particularly the Black and Indigenous communities — have been telling us; that they are disproportionately over-policed,” Chief James Reimer said in a news release.

“I am sorry and I apologize unreservedly. The release of this data will cause pain for many. Your concerns have deep roots that go beyond the release of today’s report. We must improve; we will do better.”

But activists with No Pride In Policing Coalition, a group focused on on defunding and abolishing the police, said they don’t accept the police chief’s apology — they’d rather action.

“We didn’t ask the police for an apology, we demanded lasting change,” Desmond Cole tweeted. “We continue to demand police defunding and ultimately abolition, and no apology can substitute for that.”

In a statement, No Pride in Policing Coalition said Black people in Toronto have lost their lives and spirits fighting police brutality.

“The police are a major obstacle to our freedom,” the group said. “Every new opportunity given to them is a gamble with Black life and safety.”

The coalition is planning a demonstration on June 26 at the Toronto police headquarters to “advance [their] demands.”

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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