Police board puts off issuing street check receipts, again
The Toronto Police Services Board is putting off a decision on having cops hand out receipts when they question people on the street.
In the coming months, a board sub-committee will dive into the issue & get advice from the board's lawyer. Marie Moliner, Andrew Pringle & Michael Thompson make up that group.
At the same time, Toronto Police led by Deputy Chief Mark Saunders will be looking at how they run street checks & what they do with the information they collect.
Opponents of the practice say Torontonians, especially people of ethnic minorities, are being forced at random to answer police questions.
But Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair insists the stops aren't random. A draft version of the receipt gives reasons like call for service, general investigation & the vague explanation of "community engagement".
Noa Mendelsohn Aviv with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association says the board & police need to remember that "fishing expeditions" aren't acceptable or lawful in Canada.
Mendelsohn Aviv was 1 of 6 people who made presentations to the police services board, many of them focusing on street checks they say boil down to racial profiling.
Odion Fayalo told the board "Black people feel less than human when the police and criminal justice system establishment treats the whole community as criminal".
Chief Blair acknowledges that members of minority groups may be stopped more often, but adds that how police are deployed may account for some of the "disproportionality". He explains officers pay special attention to crime hot spots in the city or areas known for violence.
Blair made it clear that if lopsided stops have anything to do with any aspect of racial discrimination, it would be "completely unacceptable". He also calls racial profiling "abhorrent".