Black people more likely to be arrested, charged, over-charged, subjected to use of force: report

Human Rights Commission: Black people most likely to be struck, shot or killed by Toronto police

Black people more likely to be arrested, charged, over-charged, subjected to use of force: report

A report released by the Ontario Human Rights Commission has presented data that supports long-standing concerns of anti-Black bias and systemic racism in the Toronto Police Service.

The report titled “A Disparate Impact” found that Black people received a disproportionate burden of law enforcement and were more likely to be arrested, charged, over-charged and subjected to use of force, such as through being struck, shot or killed, by Toronto police. Black people were also more likely to face discretionary, lower-level charges, as well as low-quality charges with a low probability of conviction when compared with White people, said the report.

Statistics for the years of 2013 to 2017 released in the report showed that, while Black people make up only 8.8 per cent of the provincial population, they represent 32 per cent of all charges, 34 per cent of those involved in single-charge “out-of-sight” driving charges and 38 per cent of those involved in cannabis charges.

Black people are also over-represented among Special Investigations Unit cases resulting in death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault and among cases involving lower-level use of force, the report found.

The report urged immediate, bold action not only by the Toronto Police Service, but also by the Toronto and Ontario governments. It also called for the adoption of legally binding remedies and the establishment of a legislative and regulatory framework to address the issues of systemic racism and anti-Black racial bias in policing.

“It is time to make transformative changes in the institutions and systems of law enforcement that produce such disparate outcomes – community trust and safety, especially the safety of Black lives, depend on it,” said Ena Chadha, interim chief commissioner of the human rights commission.

The commission’s inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination of Black persons by the Toronto police will move on to its next stage, which is the preparation of a final report investigating training, policies, procedures and accountability mechanisms relating to these issues.

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