They are the clenched jaw, the racing heartbeat and the rapid breathing. They are the discomfort, fear, anxiety, suspicion and disgust. For police, racist feelings are particularly dangerous. In altercations with African Americans, some police to feel a heightened sense of threat, even when no such threat exists.
As Canadians, it is fairly easy to separate ourselves from the problem. It is easy to chalk it up as "their problem, not ours" -- and it is tempting, because the problem is complex, disturbing and uncomfortable. But not so fast. We have our own problems when it comes to the systematic discrimination of minorities
If the study was properly designed and executed, the data would have been more compelling and conclusive than what the report indicates. Because the TPS failed in this respect, we know more about what the public and the police think the cameras may do rather than what the cameras have actually done. The $500,000 funding provided by the provincial government does not appear to have generated a strong return on its investment given the meagre results.
I watch him go down from the one-two punch of a Taser and several gunshots to the body. I don't know why they followed up a successful non-lethal takedown with lethal force, but I'm not a police officer. If you were to take every single piece of shaky cam and mobile phone footage showing police officers killing unarmed or complying Black people and splice them together, you'd have a horror movie. Or a snuff film. When it's time for me to die on camera, how will it look? Who will film me? What small physical imperfection, what inadvertent stumble will be the reason I'm murdered on a jittery impulse?
The Toronto Police Service must develop a strong policy around Taser use that goes far beyond the requirements outlined in the Ontario guidelines. The policy must also ensure meaningful accountability and strict disciplinary measures for when officers use Tasers carelessly and without sufficient justification.
Another depiction of police brutality against a black man caught on tape, sparks outrage among black Canadians and the cycle of violence begins anew: a black person murdered by police is captured on video, the video goes viral and no changes are made to policing strategies or tactics. More importantly, no one is held accountable. Rather, the cycle of violence continues on an administrative level: SIU documents are concealed, police officers go unnamed; are seldom reprimanded and the victim's family and the black community never get justice.
The current inquest into the police killing of Jermaine Carby should serve as a powerful reminder about the deadly consequences of institutional discrimination within the force. Unfortunately, the larger issues raised by this case, specifically, how police deal with blacks and people with mental health issues, likely will not be addressed within the confines of the inquest's recommendations.
Recent police attacks on black women have been vicious, brutal and savage, often justified by police departments and arresting officers through the excuse that these black women were "angry" -- argumentative and sarcastic smart asses, talking back and full of attitude.
I recently wrote an essay calling on the people of Toronto to end carding by refusing to share their personal information with the cops. They should meet any question from the cops with "Am I free to go?" The following elements should be used in any neighbourhood-based, grassroots led and organized anti-carding campaign. We must strive to win the active support of neighbourhood residents and people of good conscience across the city to not co-operate with the carding regime.
In the absence of community support, members of our communities could end up in the prison industrial complex for asserting their right to remain silent and walk away from these non-criminal encounters. The cops are aware of the fact that the people can refuse to speak with them and are free to walk away, if they are not being detained or arrested.