- Written by Ajamu Nangwaya
By Desmond Cole
For at least a decade, Toronto's police force has been quietly building a massive database of the black residents it is supposed to serve. This is not a catalogue of convicted criminals—most black people in the database are not suspected of any crime, at least not in any official sense. Police simply document us in case they ever need to identify us later.
In Toronto we use the term "carding" to describe the police practice of stopping civilians who are not suspected of a crime, and documenting their personal information. For years, this practice was a secret; now we know it exists, and that it has excessively targeted Toronto's black residents. The retention of information collected in such a dubious and discriminatory manner is an insult to black residents. Yet police plan to not only continue carding, but to keep the information from millions of individual contacts in a database for years to come—just in case.
Last week, outgoing Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair announced that he had, in partnership with the police oversight board, developed new rules about carding. The police have been conducting the practice without formal regulations, and only changed course after an eye-opening Toronto Star investigation exposed carding's shocking scope and bias: In 2013, 27 percent of the people Toronto police carded were black, even though we only represent about eight percent of the population. The public knows almost nothing about how our personal information has been stored, accessed, and shared.
Read more: http://www.vice.com/en_ca/read/the-massive-police-database-of-biased-carding-information-on-black-torontonians-should-be-destroyed-782?utm_source=vicefbca