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Report on racialized bias by Toronto Police (particular to excessive force)

Northern Light

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Report out this morning from the Human Right Commission having poured over SIU data from 2010-2017.

Many facts and figures out, but the overall messaging is clear, that black Torontonians are vastly over represented in use of force cases, and the more serious the level of force, the more disproportionate the black community's over representation.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2018/12/10/blacks-grossly-overrepresented-more-likely-to-be-hurt-or-killed-in-interactions-with-toronto-police-racial-profiling-interim-report-finds.html

While more research is needed in order to suss out what portion of this issue is socio-economic with 'race' as a correlative vs skin colour as a driving factor; I don't think anyone could fail to conclude there is a level of systemic bias at work, and that the level involved,
as at 2017 is well and truly disappointing, particularly that it does not seem to be on the decline.
 

Admiral Beez

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I think they need to drive down the demographic a little further. I would suspect it’s not all black people that are being disproportionately “policed”, but is instead young adult black males. If we identify this population and compare it to the total population of all young males in Toronto I’d bet the ratio of bias towards young adult black males would be even more substantial.
 

Northern Light

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I think they need to drive down the demographic a little further. I would suspect it’s not all black people that are being disproportionately “policed”, but is instead young adult black males. If we identify this population and compare it to the total population of all young males in Toronto I’d bet the ratio of bias towards young adult black males would be even more substantial.
I believe the sex disparity was noted in the report, but I'll have to re-read it to be sure.

The actual report (interim report actually) is here:

http://ohrc.on.ca/en/public-interest-inquiry-racial-profiling-and-discrimination-toronto-police-service/collective-impact-interim-report-inquiry-racial-profiling-and-racial-discrimination-black#IV. Findings

For me there are three discrete issues at play:

1) outright racism
2) socio-economic discrimination/issues which happen to correlate w/'race' at some level.
3) police use of excessive force, in general, without regards to race.

******

The first is a challenge to weed out, beyond the obvious psych evals/interviews at the hiring stage; and/or punishing any clear issue later.

I do think raising the educational attainment standard for an officer might be useful in some way (say requiring a criminology degree instead of a grade 12 education), but I'm not clear on whether there's a
a factual basis to support that or merely my bias towards greater education.

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The second issue is three distinct things. Violent crime is somewhat more common among low-income earners (though exists at all levels of our society, and most low-income earners are law abiding). But reducing
poverty in general would be helpful.

Further, socio-economic discrimination occurs when officers pass frivolous judgements about people based on their attire/hair cut/manner of speech, and there is a need to develop better, more selective instincts in officers.

But likewise, there is a need to communicate, particularly to low-income youth, why certain choices in appearance are likely to arouse suspicion in others, particularly police, irrespective of one's skin colour. Though the latter may
certainly, unfairly, amplify the problem.

Put simply, walking w/your hood up, when the weather does not seem to merit it, particularly after dark, makes police wonder why you're hiding your face. Wearing your pants so low your underwear hangs out tends to suggest, not in school, not working........and engenders a level of disrespect.

I don't suggest the above is fair, or a reasonable basis for over-policiing, but one can't be ignorant of it either.

******

The third issue, excessive force, is one needs to be dealt with in many different ways.

First by showing officers videos of incidents that have made the public squirm (and rightly so) and clearly stating, "being involved in this is a good way to cut your career short, or even end up in jail".

Second by revisiting yet again, the issue of de-escalation, which is now being increasingly taught for high-tension situations, but I don't think gets enough focus in terms of actual arrests where people may be hostile.

Finally, by really cracking the whip on the issue of unjustified police violence. Charges should NEVER be laid under the Police Services Act for this sort of violation. These should immediately be referred for criminal prosecution.

Police Services Act charges should be reserved to matters that are consequential, but clearly NOT criminal. They should be about dereliction of duty or embarrassing the force. Criminal matters should be dealt with the same as for any other citizen.

Officers criminally charged should always be removed from active duty pending outcome of their case.

This would discourage unwarranted use of force. (or so i would hope)
 

Jasmine18

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I think it comes down to racism that if I as an Indian young female act in one with a cop, the police would act differently with a young black male.

I think its due to society and media pushing the idea that black men are threatening and such.
 

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