Toronto police chief decries 'attacks on the TPS' after Pride in wake of protest

Attacks on Toronto police following Toronto's Pride parade, halted temporarily on Sunday by the group Black Lives Matter, have come from people who "want to drive a wedge between" the force and the city's LGBT community, Toronto police chief Mark Saunders said Friday.

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Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders sent a letter to the force following an attack on police officers in Dallas, taking the opportunity to point out those looking to 'drive a wedge between the TPS and the LGBTQ communities'. (CBC)

Attacks on Toronto police following the Pride parade Sunday, which was halted temporarily by Black Lives Matter, have come from those who "want to drive a wedge" between the force and this city's LGBT community, Toronto police chief Mark Saunders said in a letter obtained by CBC News Friday.

"They will not succeed," Saunders said in a letter first delivered to the police service in the aftermath of a deadly night in Dallas Thursday. 

The violence in Texas saw five police officers shot dead by a gunman who claimed he "wanted to kill white people, especially white officers," according to that city's police chief David Brown. 

The letter, obtained by CBC News, begins by acknowledging the "concerning" events in Dallas and a commitment by Saunders to protect Toronto police officers. Without making explicit mention of Black Lives Matter, Saunders quickly moves to the subject of Toronto's Pride parade, during which that group demanded the removal of police floats and booths from all future Pride parades, marches and community spaces. 

"In the aftermath of a very successful and safe parade, attacks on the TPS have come, predictably, from those people," Saunders said in the letter, adding, "The attacks are inaccurate, irresponsible and inflammatory."

Read the full letter below:

What happened in Dallas last night and this morning is shocking. It is
beyond our comprehension. Our condolences are with the families of
those officers killed and injured.

Let me be clear. The safety of the men and women of the Toronto Police
Service, who serve and protect this city, day and night, is enormously
important to me. I will always make sure you have the best, and
safest, equipment, and the intelligence and training to provide you
with the greatest protection.

I understand how concerning the events in Dallas are, and I know you
will continue to take all necessary precautions. I also understand the
professionalism and courage of those who work in all the communities
of this city, reaching out to those who are vulnerable, building
relationships with marginalized communities, and helping communities
become more resilient. I am constantly reminded by community members
I speak with, how much they appreciate what you do for them.

I also want to address recent events surrounding the Pride parade.
There are clearly people in this city who want to drive a wedge
between the TPS and the LGBTQ communities. They will not succeed. It
must be a source of great anger to them that the TPS has made enormous
strides in recent years to enhance and develop our relationship with
those communities. The Service, internally and externally, has
demonstrated a willingness to learn, to develop, to work together, to
support each other. There is much to be done, but we have come a long

In the aftermath of a very successful and safe parade, attacks on the
TPS have come, predictably, from those people. The attacks are
inaccurate, irresponsible and inflammatory.

That has been confirmed by the overwhelmingly positive response from
people all over the city. We have received many calls, emails, texts
and social media posts that tell us how much the people of Toronto
appreciate what you do. Members of the LGBT communities tell us they
appreciate and understand how much better our relationship is, how
they, indeed, feel served and protected by you and how strongly they
feel the TPS must continue to work closely with the LGBT communities.

I have said, again and again, that I will sit down with any person or
group who has ideas on better ways to reach out to marginalized
communities, on how to work to make the city safer and more inclusive.
That offer stands. I am interested in dialogue. What I am not
interested in is monologues from those with nothing to offer except
abuse and insult.

Recent events remind us how much public support there is for the TPS.
But we cannot rest. We have to continue to push forward, continue to
reach out to the most vulnerable and marginalized. With your support
and hard work, and the support of the people of Toronto, we will