Toronto’s police chief, James Ramer has apologized for his officers’ uncontrolled use of force against Blacks, and released data backing up community claims of discrimination by law enforcement in Canada’s largest metropolis.
In a news conference, Ramer said “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”.
“This data demonstrates the unfortunate realities of those experiences. As an organization. We have not done enough to ensure that every person in our city receives fair. And unbiased policing. For this. As chief of police and on behalf of the service, I am sorry and I apologize unreservedly.”
It could be recalled that Police forces across Ontario province were directed in 2019 to start collecting data on the race of people against whom officers used physical force or drew their weapons.
The directive came after a human rights commission found that Blacks, who represent 8.8 percent of the city’s population of six million, were nearly 20 times more likely than whites to be shot by Toronto police officers.
The new police data was for 2020, the same year George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis policeman in the US state of Minnesota, sparking global outrage and protests across the continent.
While noting that the policing data is “difficult and uncomfortable,” he promised that “We will do all we can to fix this mess”.
During the news conference, activist Beverly Bain of the No Pride in Policing Coalition responded directly to the chief: “We do not accept your apology,” while renewing calls to defund the police service.
She added that “What we have asked for you to do is to stop brutalizing us, to stop killing us, to stop carding us, to stop continuously stopping us and harassing our children, our Black sons and Black daughters”.
“What we have gotten instead is much more police.”
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