Toronto

Black Lives Matter Toronto rips new police street check policy

Black Lives Matter Toronto blasted Mayor John Tory and the city’s police board for approving new rules that allows officers to keep conducting street checks.

‘Nothing has changed,’ group says of new policy approved by city’s police board

Black Lives Matter Toronto says police officers will continue carding black people despite new policies that govern how street checks are supposed to be conducted. (CBC)

Black Lives Matter Toronto (BLMTO) blasted Mayor John Tory and the city's police board for approving new rules that allows officers to keep conducting street checks.

The activist group, which was not at Thursday's meeting where the new policy was approved, took to social media to criticize the new policies, which it considers anti-black.

The new regulations mean police can't stop someone based on their ethnicity alone, but officers can question someone from a racialized group if they also have a physical description of the person, details about the person's vehicle or know where they can find that person.

Sandy Hudson said the new rules won't change the way police operate. (CBC)
BLMTO's Sandy Hudson said police can call the new practice what they want, but to the black community this is still carding.

"Nothing has changed. Nothing at all," Hudson told CBC Toronto Thursday evening.

"We know that they are operating in the same way. People are still getting carded," she said, noting BLMTO has even noticed officers questioning people outside its community events.

Hudson said the new rules allow police to keep black people under constant surveillance, while stripping them of their dignity.

"If you think we're gonna accept this, you got another thing coming," BLMTO posted on Twitter after the policy was approved.

Group demanding answers from mayor

BLMTO, which camped outside Toronto police headquarters earlier this year to call attention to issues like carding, also took aim directly at Tory for not holding a public meeting to discuss how the city's police force treats black people.

"Clearly this is not a priority for him," Hudson said.

Tory didn't attend Thursday's police services board meeting but said in a statement that he welcomed the new policy.

"This policy is a step forward in honouring our city's diverse population and our core values of inclusion and respect, while at the same time delivering excellent, effective policing," Tory said in a statement.

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders also welcomed the new policy, though he admitted the police force was wrong to card the way it did in the past.

Information gleaned from those problematic encounters will still be accessible by police, though with some restrictions. 

now