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Doubts emerge in G20 Police Review

Board turns down citizens input until after decisions are made

by Tim Groves

John Sewel Disrupts meeting. Photo: Kevin
John Sewel Disrupts meeting. Photo: Kevin
The meeting was held at Police Headquarters. Photo: GTD Aquitaine
The meeting was held at Police Headquarters. Photo: GTD Aquitaine
The board. Photo: Kevin
The board. Photo: Kevin

 

The Police Services Board voted today that they would be setting up an Independent Civilian Review (ICR) to look at policing during the G20 Summit. Many citizens attending the meeting jeered at the Board when they refused to hear public input on the boards decision. 

The actions of Police during the G20 Summit has raised much concern among Torontonians. Over 60 people packed the public section of the room. When it became clear that the Board was not interested in hearing from those in the room or having their input in the initial stages of setting up the ICR, John Sewell stood and interrupted the proceedings. 
 
"If you are talking about accountability and transparency you need to start right here" said John Sewell, a former Toronto Mayor. Soon others began speaking out, and cries of "SHAME!" filled the room.  
 
The Board said they would only be willing to listen to the public deputations once they had set up the terms of reference of the ICR. Councilor Adam Vaughn, who sits on the Police Services Board suggested that the Board ask for written submissions instead of verbal deputations, but his proposal was never approved by the Board. Many in the audience expressed fears that if the terms of reference were too narrow or if the wrong head of the ICR was picked, then the result would provide no real accountability of the police. 
 
"Its like putting the mouse in charge of the cheese" yelled out Michelle Vanlooy, a member of the public who attended the meeting.
 
The according to the report that was approved at the meeting, the mandate to ICR will be to review "oversight, governance, accountability, transparency, as well as communication and supervision issues arising from ... policing the G20 Summit."  Sewell pointed out that operational issues were not in the mandate. He also questioned how the head of ICR will be chosen. The scope of the review will be further clarified in two weeks.  The Chair of the Police Services Board, Alok Mukherjee, will bring forward "terms of reference" to be approved by the rest of the Board.
 
 To see a copy of the Chair's report on the proposed ICR which was passed at the meeting click on this link.
 
The Toronto Police were only one of the forces involved in G20 security. It is unclear if any review of the other police forces will take place.
 
Many at the meeting left sceptical that any review would be effective in delivering justice
 
"I saw them abuse and beat several of my friends, I was illegally searched, a friend was tasered and had their head cracked open by a cop" said Zoe Dodd, who believes the G20 Policing is similar to what poor people face everyday. "Neighbourhoods in this city are over policed as it is. In places LIKE Rexdale, Jane and Finch, Malvern AND Regent Park, there is such a heavy police presence. They never get penalized, never get fired. I totally believe the process protects the Police. "
 
"There is already a review process, but people in this city already know the process is bogus. There is no accountability"

 


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Comments

thank you

Thanks for these updates, Tim, much appreciated.

 

Link

Thank you for another informative article!

The link for the Chair's report is missing/broken. Please repost!!

accountability

Thanks for that great article. Clearly the city doesn't seem to understand that they cannot let this travesty go away by having another "internal investigation."

There's a Toronto municipal

There's a Toronto municipal election soon. There are ways to cause the candidates to understand and those who do are the ones to support and vote for.

Police Services Board Conflict of Interest Not Unique

Don't hold your breath if you expect impartiality and independent ability to control the police from the Toronto Police Services Board, they're all political appointees, even the sole member from the public, http://www.tpsb.ca/V/Board_Members/.

The impartiality and police control problems aren't unique to Toronto, the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board is the same and the citizens of Pittsburgh are complaining about them, http://tmcnewpeople.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/policing-the-police/.

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