The Toronto Police Services Board has just released its draft policy street checks as they push for implementation. The practice is highly controversial for a number of reasons as this would give the right for police to stop citizens and document personal details without arresting or charging them.
The policy comes just a month after a class-action complaint filed by the Black Action Defence Committee with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, alleging that Toronto Police are involved with racial profiling. While personally I doubt they would ever admit it, it seems quite obvious that the police don’t treat every citizen equally. In New York street checks have been a huge problem as a great deal of racial profiling has gone on and since cops are given quotas for street checks, arrests and tickets each month, it leaves the door open for even more shady behaviour by cops. Click here for more about the NYPD’s street check program and the kid who exposed their involvement with racial profiling.
“For citizens who have done nothing wrong … it’s a breach of privacy… on the other hand, some kind of documentation system allows officers to retrieve information that can assist in investigations.” Frank Addario, a lawyer retained by the Toronto Police Board.
What about the right to remain silent? Now Toronto police want the ability to stop random and innocent people to collect information and ID’s for their database? Personally, if I had done nothing wrong, I wouldn’t want to be stopped, hassled and asked for information by police just so that they can fill their database. This leaves a lot of room for future hassle and even wrongful accusations. Many Toronto citizens already developed a lack of trust after what took place during the Toronto G20 summit where police were found abusing their power beyond points many citizens ever thought possible. Will this leave them feeling comfortable given the history?
The police services board will be reaching out for the public’s input on the matter during at a meeting they will be holding on April 8th at 6 p.m. in the auditorium at Toronto police headquarters. This might be a good way for citizens to voice their concern and hopefully shut down the policy.
But these are my thoughts, what are your thoughts on having a street check policy? Do you agree or not? Share your thoughts below.
You can read the draft here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/212340839/Tpsb-Community-Contacts-Policy-Draft-1
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