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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.

******

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.
 

Admiral Beez

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Looks like Dafante Miller pushed his luck and in conducting his petty crimes came across one of those nasty, monstrous and egotistical characters that populate any organization. I wish Dafante well in the trial, but I can’t help but feel his ordeal would have been avoided if he wasn’t stealing. In my neighbourhood we have so much property theft where the perpetrators have no fear of the community, I imagine Dafante has that now.

Again, it’s not right, the justice for stealing is not to be assaulted by an off duty cop and his brother. I hope that TPS officer is kicked off the force and both of them convicted with assault and lying to Durham police and now the courts. Three young black men being attacked by two older white guys may also have the makings of a hate crime - would these two have so thoroughly assaulted a trio of white kids? My point is, you take your chances when you live a life of crime. He’s lucky he didn’t steal from a Dexter type, ending up dead.

@Northern Light much what you wrote above is exactly applicable to the case here, where this TPS officer should have been culled out of the department's hiring stream. We can't yet say that race played a part, but excessive force and lack of deescalation is obvious here. Your points that I think are particularly applicable are below:
  1. Police use of excessive force, in general, without regards to race.
  2. Weed out, beyond the obvious psych evals/interviews at the hiring stage; and/or punishing any clear issue later.
  3. The third issue, excessive force, is one needs to be dealt with in many different ways.
  4. 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".
  5. Revisiting yet again, the issue of de-escalation, which is now being increasingly taught for high-tension situations
  6. 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.
These six items would go a long way to making the streets safer for everyone. I wish we'd hire people to be police who are motivated to be teachers, firefighters, paramedics, nurses, etc., those with a desire to serve their communities. TPS seems to often hire guys on power trips who want to dominate a situation, though I wonder if the work itself turns some good people into bad ones. There needs to be a much more indepth psych evaluation during hiring.
 
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Admiral Beez

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I'll admit as one living in a crime ridden area, seeing petty thieves roughed up by their victims stirs my inner Paul Kersey, but this assault goes beyond the pale. I think this copper should be tossed and him and his brother considered for hate crime charges.
 
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SunriseChampion

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Personally, I think these tools who get mashed up whilst thieving and worse deserve it. Also not sure why the Miller case is being construed as police brutality as if it was something that happened during duty hours and not some dumbass getting the beating his parents failed to deliver in raising him.
As someone who has been beat down by on-duty officers twice whilst committing no crimes the sympathy is a bit much.
 

Rufus8

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something else which is not referenced is the cultural norms regarding power and rule of law. Some cultures do not regard some crime as real crime. Canada has a history of dealing with corruption, violence and property crime in the same way - police, court, prison. Some cultures don't see them as equal community issues, and why should the police get involved. I was brought up in Toronto and I have never even held a gun. Once in school (6th grade) some kid brought a knife in and he was expelled, never to return. No doubt his parents had a good talking to by the school, but that wouldn't happen now. I keep going back to character and morality, you can't buy it or legislate for it.
 

ShonTron

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Personally, I think these tools who get mashed up whilst thieving and worse deserve it. Also not sure why the Miller case is being construed as police brutality as if it was something that happened during duty hours and not some dumbass getting the beating his parents failed to deliver in raising him.
As someone who has been beat down by on-duty officers twice whilst committing no crimes the sympathy is a bit much.
Because he identified himself as a cop, that police are never truly "off duty," and there was a cover-up by both Durham and Toronto police. This is exactly the reason why police should be held to a higher standard. Not that we as a society should be condoning vigilantism either.
 

SunriseChampion

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Because he identified himself as a cop, that police are never truly "off duty,"...
Yeah, I can agree with that. Officers of the law should be held to a high standard of character and behaviour.


... and there was a cover-up by both Durham and Toronto police.
This should be prosecuted to the fullest. I'm sure everyone here knows what I think of authority gone mad.

Not that we as a society should be condoning vigilantism either.
No, we shouldn't, but when dealing with people exhibiting extremely self-centred anti-social or psychopathic behaviour, the only language they understand sometimes is the language of getting their head kicked in.

I have no sympathy for these punk-ass kids.

When I got beat up by the cops (basically dropped to the ground and kicked all over my upper torso), I say I deserved it, however I wasn't committing any crimes, just being a bit of a dickhead.

The second time I got roughed up by cops (they injured the tendons in my right thumb which is my main work hand.....8 years later, I'm still having issues with it) I didn't deserve it. The idiots thought I was drunk. After having me up against a wall for 20 minutes, they themselves agreed that I wasn't. "Hahaha....you're right, you're not drunk at all. Yeah, you're right, I guess these cuffs ARE a bit tight." har har.

Anyway, I have zero sympathy for idiots like Dafonte Miller. I need my thumb to work. Dafonte only needs one eye to thieve.

That being said, I fully believe those two brothers took shit way too far in beating the kid to whatever was left of him.
 

Rufus8

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Because he identified himself as a cop, that police are never truly "off duty," and there was a cover-up by both Durham and Toronto police. This is exactly the reason why police should be held to a higher standard. Not that we as a society should be condoning vigilantism either.
cops are never off duty? You really think that is a good look for the city? Exhausted, worn out, burnt out and never allowed to tap out? Cops are human beings just like everybody else. As for being held to a higher standard, why shouldn't all citizens aim for common decency in public? Why is it we only expect decency from a select few?
 

ShonTron

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cops are never off duty? You really think that is a good look for the city? Exhausted, worn out, burnt out and never allowed to tap out? Cops are human beings just like everybody else. As for being held to a higher standard, why shouldn't all citizens aim for common decency in public? Why is it we only expect decency from a select few?
He identified himself as a cop and proceeded to "arrest" Miller after him and his brother proceeded to beat the living crap out of him.

I, for one, want to trust our police. Miller has never been tried for the crimes he allegedly did that night. The Theriaults (including the father, Det. John Theriault), covered this up. That's the biggest crime of all. If there was justice, the three of them would be sent to genpop at Millhaven.
 

lenaitch

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Like everyone else, I'm only going on what I read in the media, but I do hope there is more evidence to come regarding that piece of pipe (provenance, forensics, etc.). The bar of 'beyond a reasonable doubt' is high. "I feared for my life" is straight out of police use-of-force training.
 

Admiral Beez

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Like everyone else, I'm only going on what I read in the media, but I do hope there is more evidence to come regarding that piece of pipe (provenance, forensics, etc.).
Indeed. Where did this pipe come from? My guess, its from the garage, that the two brothers grabbed it on their way outside.
 

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