A new report out by the Ontario Human Rights Commission showed that a Black person is 20 times more likely to be shot and killed by Toronto cops than a White person.
The investigation was launched last year and found that Black people are “grossly over-represented” in violent interactions with law enforcement in the city, where 8 percent of the population is Black, per the BBC.
“I don’t think we can ignore this disparity,” University of Toronto criminologist Scot Wortley, who conducted the research, told the BBC.
Wortley used media reports, information from police, case photographs and social media to determine the race of those involved in incidents in the city. Toronto police don’t track race-based data, per the report.
Researchers who conducted the study spoke to more than 130 Black people in Toronto who said that they have experienced “fear, trauma and humiliation,” by police, according to Al Jazeera.
“Even where individuals did not have first-hand experiences, high-profile incidents or experiences of friends and family reinforced community distrust,” said the report.
The Toronto Police Service responded to the report in a statement on Monday, saying that it’s not “immune from overt and implicit bias,” but officers have worked hard to combat the problem.
We recognize that there are those within Toronto’s Black communities who feel that, because of the colour of their skin, the police, including when it comes to use of force, have at times, treated them differently. We understand that this has created a sense of distrust that has lasted generations. We – the Board and the Service – know that only by acknowledging these lived experiences can we continue to work with our community partners to achieve meaningful changes.
Despite the small Black population, Black Torontonians made up 30 percent of incidents in which force resulting in serious injury or death is used. They also make up 60 percent of deadly interactions with cops and 70 percent of police shootings that result in death.
“This interim report is the latest in a body of reports, findings and recommendations – over the past 30 years – that point to persistent concerns about anti-black racism policing in Toronto,” said Renu Mandhare, Ontario’s human rights commissioner, to reporters. “Our interim findings are disturbing and call for immediate action,” per Al Jazeera.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.