Canadian Association of Black Lawyers reacts to human rights commission report on racism in policing

CABL echoes OHRC’s calls to Ontario and Toronto governments and to Toronto Police Service

Canadian Association of Black Lawyers reacts to human rights commission report on racism in policing

The Canadian Association of Black Lawyers supports the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s call for Ontario to establish a legislative and regulatory framework to address systemic racism and anti-Black racial bias in policing.

The association issued a statement agreeing with the sentiments expressed by the human rights commission in “A Disparate Impact: Second interim report on the inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination of Black persons by the Toronto Police Service.” The group reiterated the calls for police reform and decisive action on the part of the Government of Ontario, the City of Toronto, the Toronto Police Service and the Toronto Police Services Board.

“Police engagements with members of the Black community far too often result in a loss of basic human dignity at one extreme or a loss of life at the other,” said the association’s statement.

Echoing the commission, the association called for the development of a process for the adoption of legally binding remedies which would improve policing practices and policing culture and which would put an end to systemic racism and anti-Black racial bias among police.

The association also agreed that provincial law should obligate Ontario police to gather and analyze race-based policing-related data, should establish transparent and effective accountability processes and should provide for the discipline and retraining of officers who have committed racial profiling or discrimination.

The commission’s report had presented data supporting long-standing concerns of anti-Black bias and systemic racism in the Toronto Police Service, finding 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.

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