OTTAWA: Toronto’s police chief apologised on Wednesday for his officers’ excessive use of force against Blacks, and released data backing up community claims of discrimination by law enforcement in Canada’s largest metropolis.
“As an organisation, we have not done enough to ensure that every person in our city receives fair and unbiased policing,” Chief James Ramer told a news conference. “For this, as chief of police and on behalf of the service, I am sorry and I apologize unreservedly.”
Police forces across Ontario province were mandated in 2019 to start collecting data on the race of people against whom officers used physical force or drew their weapons. This 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. It showed that Blacks were 2.2 times more likely to have interactions with officers and 1.6 times more likely to have force used against them. Ramer said the policing data is “difficult and uncomfortable,” and “confirms what for many decades, racialized communities.
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