Unmasking Police Violence Against African-Canadians in Toronto

By Ajamu Nangwaya

The police operate in the neighbourhoods like an occupation army.

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As we come close to the 50th anniversary of the Watts Rebellion (August 11-17, 1965) in the city of Los Angeles, it makes for a suitable background to examine police violence in Toronto against African-Canadians. The working-class constitutes the vast majority within this group and the collaboration between white supremacy and class exploitation tend to tag them as a threat to the social order. The police are the agents of the state who interact with this community on a daily basis. The cops are the coercive arm of the state that force people to abide by the laws of the ruling-class. It is not hard to see the basis for conflict between an oppressed community and the cops.

The Watts Rebellion's immediate cause was police brutality against Marquette Frye, an African-American man, who lived in the community of Watts. After the arrest of Marquette and his mother and brother, over 10,000 residents of Watts came out in protest against the police. Their action led to this pivotal moment of urban uprising in the United States. This civil disturbance could be seen as the opening salvo of the Black Power Movement with its militant resistance that moved beyond the non-violence stance of the Civil Rights Movement.

The telling element about the Watts Rebellion and other major uprisings by African-Americans is the role of police violence as the immediate cause of these insurrections. Nonetheless, these revolts have social, economic and political oppression as the ultimate factors. Unemployment, poor educational facilities, inadequate housing, and the lack of government investment in the social and physical infrastructure in the community serve as some of the specific issues that ignite these uprisings.

When people think of racially-inspired police violence in North America, they instinctively focus on the United States. Canada is normally ignored and seen as a welcoming place. However, police brutality against African-Canadians has been a longstanding experience.

According to writer-activist Xinavane Mawu Kush, "I can even go back farther to the generation of my grandparents, around the 1910s and 1920s when the Toronto Black community was the size of a blip and we were said to be a very law-abiding group, yet, there were ongoing complaints of systemic, unfair treatment by cops."

Read more at: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Unmasking-Police-Violence-Against-African-Canadians-in-Toronto--20150721-0014.html

Ajamu Nangwaya is an organizer, educator and writer. He is an organizer with the Network for the Elimination of Police Violence.

Ajamu Nangwaya is an organizer, educator and writer. He is an organizer with the Network for the Elimination of Police Violence.

This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address: 
"http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Unmasking-Police-Violence-Against-African-Canadians-in-Toronto--20150721-0014.html". If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article. www.teleSURtv.net/english Ajamu Nangwaya is an organizer, educator and writer. He is an organizer with the Network for the Elimination of Police Violence. This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address:
"http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Unmasking-Police-Violence-Against-African-Canadians-in-Toronto--20150721-0014.html". If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article. www.teleSURtv.net/english
Ajamu Nangwaya is an organizer, educator and writer. He is an organizer with the Network for the Elimination of Police Violence.

This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address: 
"http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Unmasking-Police-Violence-Against-African-Canadians-in-Toronto--20150721-0014.html". If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article. www.teleSURtv.net/english

City Councillor Calls on London Police to Suspend Carding Program

By AM980 - News, Talk, Sports

Days after the provincial government announced it would be revamping "carding" procedures for police departments in the province, a London city councillor is calling on the London Police Service to suspend the process altogether, suggesting it may be race-motivated.

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Carding is a practice whereby police officers record information about people, vehicles and properties though details like names, addresses, date of birth, races, and identifiable markings of community members. The interactions are voluntary, through critics argue that people may not know they have the right to decline to answer questions.

Ward 3 Councillor Mo Salih, who is black himself, says that blacks are disproportionately exposed to the LPS's street checking program.

Numbers from the LPS show that in 2014, of the 14,000 people ended into the service's database, 71.2 per cent were white and 7.7 per cent were black.

Based on 2011 census numbers, the most recent available, London's white population was 82 percent, while the city's black population was only 2.2 per cent, which Salih says reinforces what he's heard from black constituents impacted by the process.

Read more at: http://www.am980.ca/2015/06/18/city-councillor-calls-on-london-police-to-suspend-carding-program/

Police street checks: Balancing people’s rights with investigative work is a juggling act

By Todd Vondank, Peterborough This Week

PETERBOROUGH -- City police officers have the right to stop and ask you questions.

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Beyond that, you are free to move on, unless the officer has reasonable grounds for an investigative detention or to make an arrest.

"It can be uncomfortable with people to speak with police on the streets," acknowledges Peterborough City police inspector Dan Smith.

"If they feel they want to walk away from the encounter, than they are more than welcome to, unless the officer has reason to step it up to an investigative detention or an arrest."

Police use of on-street check-ins, more widely known as carding, is being questioned across the province based on the assumption it violates the Charter of Rights. The practice remains a hot button issue in Toronto where members of minority groups say they are being targeted unfairly and carded at highly disproportionate rate.

Insp. Smith says City police have a policy on the issue and are bound by a general order concerning bias free profiling that the force reviews annually. He adds the policy is very clear in that officers shall not use the pretences of race, place of origin, colour or ethnic origin for the sole purpose for carding.

Read more at: http://www.mykawartha.com/news-story/5716848-police-street-checks-balancing-people-s-rights-with-investigative-work-is-a-juggling-act/