By Jennifer O'Brien, The London Free Press
Londoners will get to weigh in on the controversial police practice known as carding as Ontario moves to regulate how police forces in the province randomly stop people to gather information.
But one outspoken critic, who calls London's use of carding "on steroids" compared to other cities, says the answer isn't to regulate the so-called street checks by police, but to scrap them.
"To regulate carding is akin to putting lipstick on a pig," said Ajamu Nangwaya, an organizer with the Toronto-based Network for the Elimination of Police Violence.
"Carding is wrong. Carding must end. Period," he said.
"It's a fundamental right of citizens not to be unduly stopped by police. You are not a suspect in a crime, yet you are being stopped, questioned documented and your information stored."
Feeling the heat over a backlash to carding, especially in Toronto where racial minorities say they're disproportionately stopped by officers, Ontario's Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services has scheduled a five-city round of public hearings, including in London, to gauge public opinion before the province announces promised new regulations to control and standardize the practice.
Carding involves stopping and questioning people who aren't under arrest or facing charges nand taking down information to help build police databases.