Mayor Tory: When deeds fail to reflect words

By Patrick Hunter

If it hasn't become obvious by now, one of my impressions of Mayor John Tory is that he loves to talk. He has to give a dissertation with every answer. The problem with that is what he says is not always reflected in what he does.

On that fateful Sunday, June 7, when the mayor announced his Damascus turn-around, he said in part: "And the impact has been magnified by my very longstanding, close and mutually-respectful relationship with our own Black community. I don't have a relationship that is as important, or any more important to me, than the relationship, the friendship that I have built up over many years with that community," as reported in the Toronto Star.

The words "mutually-respectful relationship" is worth noting because it speaks very candidly to my point.

When Tory took office, one of the significant changes he made to the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) was to remove the lone Black member and vice-Chair, Councillor Michael Thompson. He placed himself on the Board, which is within his purview.

Over the past few weeks we have seen the results of why he wanted to be in the mix on the Board himself. He has no doubt had significant influence on who was appointed Chief. Then there was his confusing defence of carding, initially, and then the about face. And I have that feeling that he was influential in Board Chair Alok Mukherjee's decision to step down early.

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Law student creates app to monitor interactions with police

By Tom Godfrey

As Toronto police and the Ontario government review the carding by police of young Black men, some high-tech tools have been created to alert users of their rights when pulled over by officers.

Christien Levien of Brampton has developed a free application for smartphones that community residents can download to monitor or record their interactions with police. The app automatically uploads the data to a mailbox that can send emergency messages to loved ones.

"It is designed to be fast and simple, so that it can be used in real time during a police encounter," Levien said, adding the device's real value comes before a tense situation when information is required quickly.

The app, that was launched last month, has been so successful that its servers crashed due to thousands of users in the first week.

Levien has launched an online crowdfunding campaign to reboot the free application and make some badly-needed updates.

He said more than 5,000 people downloaded the app, called Legalswipe, after it was launched, causing the servers to go down.

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We need to keep pressure up against police carding

By Arnold A. Auguste, Publisher/Senior Editor

Thanks to the Toronto Star and the considerable work of its staff in researching and documenting the wide-ranging negative effects of carding on members of the Black community, we have been able to add supportable evidence to what we have known and said for years – that the actions of some police officers in this city have been destructive to the lives of many of our youth.

The Star continued last week with commentary from its New York correspondent, Daniel Dale, on the changes in the lives of Black men in that city as the dreaded stop-and-frisk policy is coming to an end.

Dale wrote of young Black men who almost seemed shell-shocked that they could actually walk on the streets of certain parts of New York City without being stopped by members of the New York Police Department (NYPD), so accustomed had they become to the practice.

"No questions, no pat-downs, no demands to stand against the wall. For the first time in years, Taylor, a 27-year-old Black man, is going about his business unbothered by the NYPD," Dale wrote.

"Carding, a Canadian cousin of stop-and-frisk, has confounded Toronto's politicians and police officials," Dale continued. "As they have puzzled over possible reforms, New York's mayor and top cops have brought stop-and-frisk to the brink of extinction – ignoring former mayor Michael Bloomberg's warning that abandoning the stops would cede the streets to violent criminals.

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