Council motion to review SIU through 'anti-black racism' lens passes unanimously

Toronto city council voted unanimously Friday in favour of a motion that asks the province to review police services in Toronto and Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) through an "anti-black racism lens."

Councillors want review process to include public consultation with affected communities

Protest comes after city council passed motion to review SIU 0:33

Toronto city council voted unanimously Friday in favour of a motion that asks the province to review police services in Toronto and Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) through an "anti-black racism lens."

Earlier Friday, Mayor John Tory confirmed at a news conference that he would be voting in favour of the motion. 

"There is a segment of this community ... and I think it involves, unfortunately, a number of younger people, who don't have the same degree of faith that others might in the police service," Tory told reporters on Friday.

"And if that problem exists then it is a problem ... you have to address and you have to work to restore that level of confidence."

Black Lives Matter called on the province to ensure police services and investigations are fair and transparent outside city hall on Friday. (CBC)
City councillors Mike Layton, Kristyn Wong-Tam, and Gord Perks drafted the motion and brought it forward as Black Lives Matter activists continue to protest against the fatal police shooting of a black man in the city last year and pressure the city and province to take action. 

The protests began last month, after the SIU — which investigates incidents in which civilians are killed or injured in confrontations with police — recommended that no charges be laid against the Toronto police officer who shot and killed Andrew Loku.

'Racialized communities'

The councillors want city council to ask "the Premier, the Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism and the new Anti-Racism Directorate, the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission to review the following with an anti-black racism and anti-racism lens":

  • The way police services are provided in Toronto; and ...
  • How the Special Investigations Unit deals cases that involve people from "racialized communities."

The councilors' want the review process to include public consultation with the affected communities.  

Demonstrators protested in front of Toronto police headquarters last week after the SIU decided not to lay charges in the fatal police shooting of a black man in the city last year. (CBC)

It's in response to what the motion calls "a growing movement in Toronto" pushing for a review of "the provision of police services and the work of the Special Investigations Unit."

The motion summary states: "Black Lives Matter, community outreach workers and mental health agencies have all been speaking out and telling us that people are not being treated justly." 

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