March 26, 2016
As an organization that contributed to the consultation process, the UARR views the March 22, 2016 release of new regulations prohibiting arbitrary race-based police street checks (carding) announced by the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services as a long-overdue step in the right direction. However, it falls short of addressing some of the key issues around police transparency, accountability, and commitment to addressing the root causes underlying the practice of carding: racial bias and anti-black racism that fuels racial profiling. The regulations also do not address the reality that black youth continue to be targeted by police in their neighbourhoods throughout our city.
The recent events involving the Toronto Police Service (TPS) handling of Andrew Loku’s killing and its violent response to peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters comprised of children, youth, adults, and elders remind us that anti-black racism continues to be deeply entrenched within the institution of policing. In order to restore trust in communities impacted by decades of racial profiling, some key questions remain and must be addressed both through policy and action:
What is the plan for implementing the regulations and what are the timelines, measurable benchmarks, and evaluation processes that will help hold TPS accountable?
What will happen to the data that has already been collected through carding and how will TPS ensure that data will not be used against individuals or have a negative impact on their lives and future?
What measures will be taken to address the culture of racial bias within policing beyond one-time training? Furthermore, how will TPS ensure that the training content and its execution adequately address key issues and lead to meaningful behavioural change?
We call for more emphasis on de-escalation techniques within police training, procedure and action, as did former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci and a Toronto coroner’s jury in 2014. This is crucial as we know as police are often responding to persons in crisis. We also note that countless community and healthcare workers across this city respond to persons in crisis everyday in skillfull ways, without resorting to violence, and demand that the TPS do the same.
The police can no longer respond to those in crisis with “triggers over treatment” and they must be held accountable when they do. Thus, the UARR also echoes the call by family members, mental health agencies, and other community groups for a coroner’s inquest regarding the death of Andrew Loku.
In solidarity with Black Lives Matter – Toronto, we also call for: the immediate release of the name(s) of the officer(s) who killed Andrew Loku & Jermaine Carby; that charges be laid against the officers who killed Mr. Loku; the immediate and public release of any video footage from the
apartment complex where Andrew Loku was killed; an apology to the family of Andrew Loku and appropriate compensation; a review of the Special Investigations Unit, with adequate
consultation from families whose lives have been impacted by police violence.
We are also in support of the African Canadian Legal Clinic’s aim to host a public education forum on the Ministry’s new Regulation.
Urban Alliance on Race Relations