Americas

Report proves Toronto police target Black, Indigenous communities

Police chief apologizes, says force must do better

Barry Ellsworth   | 16.06.2022
Report proves Toronto police target Black, Indigenous communities FILE PHOTO (Chris Roussakis/ for Anadolu Agency)

TRENTON, Canada 

A new report released Wednesday revealed that police in Toronto, Canada disproportionally target Black, Indigenous and other minority groups, prompting the force's chief to apologize for the conduct on behalf of the department.

"As an organization, we have not done enough to ensure that every person in our city receives fair and unbiased policing," interim Toronto Police Chief James Ramer said at a press conference. "For this, as chief of police and on behalf of the police, I am sorry and I apologize unreservedly.

"We must improve, and we will do better."

The report's statistics found that the city's 5,400 uniformed officers were more likely to use force and do strip searches on Blacks and minorities.

Ramer’s apology was answered with tough words from at least one person at the press conference.

"Chief Ramer, we do not accept your apology," said Beverly Bain of the No Pride in Policing Coalition citizens’ group.

Bain characterized the chief's admission and apology as "insulting" and nothing more than a "public relations stunt."

The report was compiled by an internal police panel, data from experts outside the department, and community representatives.

The report found that Black, Indigenous and Middle Eastern citizens -- in other words, people who are not white -- were more often targets of "enforcement actions."

Toronto is Canada's largest city, with a population of about 2.8 million. About 10%, or 280,000 people, are Black, but they made up 22.6% of those targeted by police actions, including arrests, tickets and cautions. Blacks also accounted for almost 40% of use of police force incidents.

Also targeted disproportionally more often than whites were Latino, Asian and Middle Eastern people.

Those groups were also found to be more likely to have a police firearm pointed at them.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said the report's findings of overt racism were "unacceptable."

But this is the first time a report has been compiled with so much data, and Tory said it will be used to make positive changes in the force.

The report included 38 recommendations aimed at reducing racial discrimination and strip searches.

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