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Fact Sheet on Police Violence against the African Community in Canada (Updated in July 2013)

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
Cops, a threat to Afrikans' health and safety
Cops, a threat to Afrikans' health and safety

Compiled by Ajamu Nangwaya, Ph.D.

On April 6, 1911, W. F. Witsue, an Afrikan man, was arrested for allegedly stealing a diamond ring and money from the home of a White family in Edmonton, Alberta. A 15-year-old White girl, Hazel Huff, claimed that she was assaulted and drugged by Mr. Witsue. She also asserted that she had no idea what happened to her while unconscious. This incident took place during a period of white supremacist hysteria by White Canadians and their governments over Afrikan American and Afrikan Caribbean immigration into Canada. It was later revealed that the young woman made up the incident:

Nine days after initial reports of Hazel’s maltreatment at the hands of black intruder, the young white woman confessed that her entire story had been a racial red herring. Huff admitted that, fearing punishment for losing her mother’s ring, she fabricated the attack by a big “big, burly nigger,” specifically because of the outcry over black immigration.[1]

The chief of police in the city of Edmonton was aware of this lie seven days before Hazel’s public confession, but he and her family wanted to whip up anti-Afrikan immigration excitement. It was their hope that the federal government would be pressured into further restricting the presence of Afrikans in Canada.

On July 19, 1952, Clarence Clemons, a longshoreman, was beaten and arrested by White police officers in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was later admitted to hospital and went into a coma. Clarence did not make it out of the hospital alive; died on December 24, 1952. The police officers were cleared of any wrongdoing by an all-white male jury at a coroner’s inquest into the cause of Clarence’s death.[2]

On August 9, 1978, 24-year-old Buddy Evans was killed by White police officer John Clark at a Toronto nightclub on King Street West. Evan’s killer was exonerated by a coroner’s inquest, which lasted for 11 weeks and cost the city the princely sum of $200,000.[3] The Afrikan community mobilized against this act of police violence. A protest rally “sponsored by the Sikh-led Action Committee Against Racism” attracted between 1,200 – 2,000 demonstrators.[4]

On August 26, 1979, 35-year-old Albert Johnson was shot to death in his apartment. Two White police officers, William Inglis and Walter Cargnelli, were charged with manslaughter in this killing. Johnson’s killers were acquitted in November 1980.[5]

On November 11, 1987, 19-year-old unarmed Anthony Griffins was shot in the head and killed by White police officer Allan Gosset in a Montreal police station parking lot. Griffin’s killer was acquitted of criminal negligence in 1994. Anthony’s mother Gloria Augustus was later given $27,000 in compensation for the killing of her son.[6] Anthony’s killer, Allan Gosset, had a charge of racism levied against him in 1981 and he forfeited $2,000 to the victim of his racist behaviour.[7]

On August 9, 1988, 44-year-old Lester Donaldson was shot to death in his rooming house apartment in Toronto by White police officer David Deviney. The killer cop was acquitted of any wrongdoing for this shooting death. But in 1998, Lester Donaldson’s killer was found guilty of uttering the racist slurs "apes" and "f---ing n-----s" in an internal police investigative process, which was carried out under the Police Services Act.[8]

In August 1988, the Black Action Defense Committee (BADC) was formed in the wake of the killing of Lester Donaldson by killer cop David Diveny. Some of the organization’s co-founders were Charles Roach, Sherona Hall, Dudley Laws, Akua Benjamin and Lennox Farrell. BADC went on to become the premier police accountability and community resistance organization in the Toronto region and Ontario.[9]

On December 8, 1988, Michael Wade Lawson, a 17-year-old Mississauga (Ontario) teenager, was shot in the back of his head while joyriding in a stolen car. Two White police officers Anthony Lelaragni and Darren Longpre were charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault, respectively. Michael’s killers were acquitted by an all-white jury on April 7, 1992.[10] Several days later, over 300 people protested the “not guilty” verdict in downtown Toronto.[11]

On December 13, 1988, the government of Ontario created the Race Relation and Policing Task Force in response to the killing of Lester Donaldson and Michael Wade Lawson. Clare Lewis, the Public Complaints Commissioner of Metropolitan Toronto, was appointed to head the task force, which was empowered with the directive “to address promptly the very serious concerns of visible minority communities respecting the interaction of the police community with their own.” The organizing, mobilizing and public education work of the Afrikan community and allies prompted this action from the Ontario government. Two moderates from the Afrikan community were appointed to the task force: Dr. Ralph Agard and Roy Williams.

In April 1989, the Race Relations and Policing Task Force submitted The Report of the Race Relations and Policing task Force to the government of Ontario.

On April 25, 1989, Denny Dias, an African Canadian cop, submitted a secret intelligence report on his surveillance of 13 activist and civil rights organizations and 18 individuals from the African community in Toronto. The secret police spied on groups such as the National Council of Jamaicans, Coalition of Visible Minority Women, Justice for Wade Lawson Committee, and National Black Coalition of Canada and individuals such as Dudley Laws, Ras Rico I, Dari Meade, Dr. Wilson Head, Kamala-Jean Gopie, Evelyn Lennon-Lyon (Michael Wade Lawson’s mother) and Greg Bobb. None of the individuals who were targeted by the secret police had a criminal conviction.[12]

On October 27, 1989, 23-year-old Brampton resident Sophia Cook was shot in the back while strapped down in the passenger seat of a car. The bullet was fired by White police officer Cameron Durham and it temporarily paralyzed Sophia. She had taken a ride in a car after missing her bus. It was later reported that the car was stolen, but Sophia never had any prior criminal engagement with the law.[13] Constable Durham was acquitted of the charge of careless use of a firearm in 1994.[14]

On April 9, 1990, 26-year-old Montreal resident Leslie Presley was shot six times at the Thunderdome nightclub. The three White cops Jean Chatigny, Daniel Rousseau and Jean Pellerin who were involved in Leslie’s killing were cleared of any wrongdoing after a coroner’s inquest.[15] The Sûreté du Québec had also absolved the killers.

On May 14, 1990, unarmed 16-year-old Marlon Neal was shot after fleeing a police radar trap in Scarborough. White police officer Brian Rapson was found not guilty in 1991 of the charges of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, attempted murder and aggravated assault.[16]

In August 1990, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) was proclaimed by the new Police Services Act in Ontario and this body was charged with the responsibility of carrying out “criminal investigations into circumstances involving police and civilians that have resulted in serious injury, death or allegations of sexual assault.”[17] This independent investigatory body is staffed by former police officers and the community does not view it as being sufficiently distanced from the police that it is called upon to scrutinize.

In May 1991, the Metro Toronto Police Association attempted to muzzle Dudley Laws by launching a multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit against him for asserting that Toronto’s cops were “the most brutal and murderous in North America.” The police quietly dropped the libel lawsuit in April 1994, although it was set for trial in May 1994.

In May 1991, the Metro Toronto Police Association launched a public campaign aimed at silencing Police Services Board member Roy Williams, a political moderate, for his defense of Dudley Laws’ freedom to share his opinion on the police and policing as well as his encouragement of the community to provide funds for Laws’ legal defence against the libel lawsuit of the police union.[18]

In October 1991, Dudley Laws was the victim of a Toronto police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and United States’ border police concocted immigration entrapment scheme that resulted in three charges against him for smuggling immigrants south of the border.[19] The charges against Dudley were withdrawn in October 1998 in exchange for doing 200 hours of community service and “no record of criminal charges” after a year.[20] It has been claimed that the police spent between $400,000 to $1,000,000 on its entrapment investigation of Dudley.[21]

On July 3, 1991, 24 year-old Marcellus Francois was shot in the head by a SWAT-team issued rifle in Old Montreal. The police claimed that it was a case of mistaken identity and they thought Francois was a suspect after whom they were searching. The SWAT team sergeant Michel Tremblay who fired the fatal bullet was cleared of any wrongdoing by Sûreté du Québec, the provincial police, and two other officers were slapped on the wrist with suspensions of short duration for misconduct. Francois’s family was given a compensation of $218,269 in settlement of a lawsuit brought against the cops for the killing of its kin.[22]

On September 19, 1991, a 17-year-old unarmed Afrikan Canadian was shot by police officer Richard Moore, himself an Afrikan Canadian. The youth was injured after being apprehended by the cop. The unidentified teenager was a member of group of youth who were riding in a stolen van. Two months later, Moore was charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm and careless use of a firearm, because he discharged a round from his .38-calibre revolver into the chest of the teenager.[23] On June 23, 1993, the cop was cleared of all charges by a jury of six men and six women.

On November 9, 1991, Toronto resident 24 year-old Jonathon Howell was shot by White Detective Constable Karl Sokolowski and left permanently brain damaged. The shooter was found guilty of the charge of careless use of a firearm, in a judge-only trial and was given an absolute discharge (essentially walked out of court without a criminal record).

On December 3, 1991, Royan Bagnaut, 21, was shot in his arm and chest by White police constable Douglas Lines for allegedly stealing a purse while armed with a knife. Lines claimed that the barrage of bullets that he fired was influenced by his belief that Royan had a gun. Royan had no firearm on his person. The cop was charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm, but was acquitted in 1993 by a jury of 11 Whites and 1 Asian.[24]

On May 2, 1992, 22-year-old Raymond Lawrence was shot and killed by White undercover cop Robert Rice. The killer claimed that the deceased faced him with knife after a long foot chase, but Raymond’s fingerprint was not found on the knife.[25] Raymond was killed with two bullets to the chest. Raymond’s killer was exonerated after a month-long investigation by the SIU.

On May 4, 1992, the Yonge Street Uprising emerged out of the Black Action Defence Committee-organized demonstration against the killing of Raymond Lawrence. This unprecedented rebellion against police violence led to the Ontario New Democrat government’s requesting an investigation by Stephen Lewis into the root causes of the rebellion by an Afrikan-led, but multi-racial group of young people. Stephen Lewis prepared the document Report of the Advisor on Race Relations to the Premier of Ontario, Bob Rae and one of it main assertions was “First, what we are dealing with, at root, and fundamentally is anti-Black racism…. Just as the soothing balm of ‘multiculturalism’ cannot mask racism, so racism cannot mask its primary target [Afrikan people].”[26] The Yonge Street Uprising led to a number of anti-racism and equity initiatives and policy changes by the government of the day.[27]

On January 1, 1993, Montreal resident Trevor Kelly was fatally shot in the back by White police officer Richard Massé. The Surete du Quebec did the investigation and claimed that Trevor’s killer was justified in shooting the Rastafari practitioner. According to Massé his partner’s life was endangered by Trevor standing over him with a paring knife. No civilian witnesses were found to provide an independent account of the killing of Trevor by the cop attached to the Montreal Urban Community police.[28] Interestingly, police investigators of the shooting death “found a kitchen knife five feet away from Kelly's body - with no fingerprints on it.”[29]

On April 20, 1993, 21-year-old Ian Clifford Coley was shot to death by a White cop, Rick Shank, of 41 Division. Clifford was shot twice in the chest and his killer was cleared of any wrongdoing by the SIU. On March 30, 1997, Shank killed unarmed Hugh Dawson. Nine bullets were pumped into Hugh’s body within four seconds.

On August 10, 1993, 37-year-old Audrey Smith, a tourist, public sector worker and mother of five from Jamaica, was strip-searched “naked as the day I was born, on the street” [30] in downtown Toronto. Audrey was accused of having drugs in her possession. She was immediately handcuffed and placed in a cruiser. After being detained and the cops ignoring her assertion that she was innocent, Audrey thought that her only option was to consent to a search, presumably at a police station. Instead Audrey was strip-searched on a busy Parkdale neighbourhood street. No drugs were found on her. The names of the White cops who were involved in this act of humiliation and public violence are Constables Tracey Peters, Michael Sommer and Michael Dulmage.[31]

As if Audrey’s humiliation at the hands of Canadian authority wasn’t enough, Canadian “immigration officials ordered Air Canada to drag her out of the airport departure lounge in her native Kingston, Jamaica” in April 1994.[32] The irony of this incidence was the fact that she was on her way to attend the inquiry into her 1993 strip-search complaint. Faulty intelligence was given as the reason behind her mistreatment at the airport. A three-person panel of inquiry cleared the three cops of discreditable conduct charges in September 1995, while carrying out a hatchet-job on Audrey’s character and reputation.[33] Audrey had this to say about the decision “Just because I stood up for my rights I have been called a prostitute, a drug dealer. They (the police officers) treated me like a dog. And now the panel is backing them. I can't believe this. This is not justice.”[34]

On October 23, 1993, 27-year-old Dwight Drummond, an assignment editor with popular media outlet City TV and Ron Allen were the victims of a “high risk takedown” by Metro Toronto police. Ron and Dwight “were ordered at gunpoint from their car, forced to kneel and lie on the ground, and their car was searched.”[35] The cops claimed that they matched the description of two Afrikan men who were earlier seen with a gun. A “phantom” sex trade worker was the source of the preceding allegation. In 1995, a board of inquiry exonerated White police officers Mark Hannah and David Smith who were charged under the Police Services Act with behaving "in a disorderly manner, or in a manner prejudicial to discipline or likely to bring discredit upon the reputation of the police force." Dwight declared at a news conference that the dismissal of the charges was an undisguised declaration of an “open season” on Afrikan men.

On September 29, 1994, Albert Moses, 41, was killed in his room in downtown Toronto. A White cop, Jeffrey Vance, shot Albert in his face and alleged that the latter attacked his partner with a hammer. The SIU cleared the killer of any wrongdoing.

In October 1994, Arnold Minors, a progressive Afrikan man, was mercilessly demonized by Toronto’s police, police boosters, people from the legal profession, elements within the mass media and politicians for saying that many Afrikan Canadians do not collaborate with the police in their investigations, because they are seen as “occupation armies” in the community.[36] He was a member of the Toronto Police Services Board at the time when he was being relentlessly ostracized by the police and the media.

On January 10, 1996, Tommy Anthony Barnett, 22, shot to death by White police sergeant Benedetto Troina in the Bathurst and St. Clair area of Toronto. The police claimed that Tommy was unsheathing a sword. Troina fired four bullets into Tommy’s chest.[37] Tommy’s killer was cleared of any wrongdoing by the SIU.

On March 14, 1996, Andrew Bramwell, 24, was shot to death by White constable Andy Kis in the Jane and Finch area. The officer fired three bullets into Andrew’s lower back and one in the back of one of his thighs and an unfired Glock pistol was recovered from the scene.[38] Kis was cleared of criminal wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of Andrew by the SIU.

On June 11, 1996, 24-year-old Seneca College student Wayne Rick Williams was shot to death by Kenneth Harrison (his second fatal shooting) and Gordon Hayford. Wayne experienced depression and schizophrenia. It was claimed that Wayne had a knife in his hand in the driveway of his home when multiple shoots were fired at him.[39] An autopsy revealed that four bullets entered Wayne’s body.[40] The SIU cleared the officers of any wrongdoing in the fatal shooting. But a coroner’s jury returned a verdict of homicide (does not assign blame) in June 2000 and dismissed the suggestion that Wayne was intentionally courting death when he was shot.[41]

On March 30, 1997, White police officer Rick Shank killed unarmed 31-year-old Hugh Dawson while he was sitting at the steering wheel of his car and strapped down with the seatbelt. Shank fired a total of nine bullets into Hugh’s body. It was reported that firearm’s examiner Michael Clarke revealed at the trial that the “muzzle of the pistol was about one to three inches from Dawson when it was fired, leaving powder burns on his clothing”.[42] The police claimed that High grabbed Shank’s and another officer’s guns, but Hugh’s fingerprints weren’t found on the guns in question.[43] On May 25, 1999, a jury of six men and six women cleared Shank of a manslaughter charge in the killing of Hugh.

On December 31, 1999, Henry Musaka, 26, was fatally shot twice in the head and once in the chest by Toronto’s emergency task force officers responding to an allegation that the victim had taken a hostage, a St. Michael Hospital emergency room doctor.[44] The officers James Bremner and Chris Lussow were involved in the shooting. The police recovered an unloaded pellet gun from the deceased. Henry went to seek treatment for his son who was having trouble with his breathing. But Henry was told that a pediatrician was not available and a doctor would see his son in an hour’s time. This seemingly uncaring attitude toward Henry’s son’s welfare prompted the hostage-taking action.

On October 8, 2002, 19-year-old Brendan Clarke was brutalized by two police officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Geoff Quibell and Jamall Gray in a convenient store where he went to purchase a packet of chewing gum. He gave the store clerk a $100 bill. The person thought it was a counterfeit bill and called the police. The money was a legitimate legal tender.

Brendan was battered by Quibell, the main aggressor and was charged for resisting arrest, causing a disturbance and assaulting a police officer. Most of the battering took place on the store’s surveillance camera. The cops deliberately moved Brendan away from the coverage area of the camera while punching and manhandling him. The victim of police violence was convicted on the charge of disturbing the peace.

Brendan launched a lawsuit against the Attorney General of Canada, the RCMP’s commissioner and constable Geoff Quibell. On June 17, 2013, the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia court signed-off on the federal government’s and Brendan’s out-of-court settlement, which gave him a monetary compensation of $248,000 and “letter of regret” from the RCMP for the assault on him.[45]

On October 19, 2002, the Toronto Star published the findings of its landmark investigation into police racial profiling in Toronto. It obtained access to a police database that recorded 480,000 incidents of police contact with civilians from 1996 to 2001, which generated a ticket or arrest. It was clearly established that Afrikans received racially differential treatment from the police.

The Star’s report uncovered the following racist police practices:

Most people charged with simple drug possession were free to go home, on a promise to appear in court and at a police station. Whites were released on the scene 76.5 per cent of the time while blacks were released 61.8 per cent of the time.

The difference in treatment was even more apparent at the next level of police decision-making. Of those taken to the station, blacks were held behind bars for a court appearance 15.5 per cent of the time. Whites were kept in jail awaiting a bail hearing in 7.3 per cent of cases.[46]

The Toronto Star’s investigation also uncovered the existence of the “DWB or Driving While Black” phenomenon wherein Afrikans were disproportionately charged for “out-of-sight” offences such as failing to update a driver’s licence or driving without insurance.” The newspaper asserts, “Police usually discover such violations only after a motorist has been pulled over. And, in the absence of any other charge, it isn’t clear why drivers involved in these offences are stopped in the first place.”

On August 4, 2003, 21-year old Said Jama Jama, a Somali immigrant, was arrested for assaulting a cop and causing a disturbance in the North-West area of Rexdale, Toronto. The fabricated charges against Jama was exposed by a tourist from Ottawa who videotaped the incident.[47] Jama was brutalized by White 6-year veteran Roy Preston. The former appeared in the video with his hands down and in a non-threatening posture when the cop gave him a roundhouse punch to the jaw. The surfacing of the video led to the dismissal of the bogus charges against Jama by the crown attorney.

The cop was convicted for assault on July 28, 2005 and he appealed the conviction. The lower court’s decision was upheld on November 16, 2007 and the cop was led off to jail to serve his 30-day sentence. The cop had the privilege of serving the sentence on weekends.[48] In the absence of the video-recording of the violent behaviour of the cop, it is likely that Jama would have been convicted, imprisoned and later deported from Canada.

On March 9, 2005, Canada Post letter carrier Ron Phipps was racially profiled by White Constable Shaw of 33 Division police station, while working in the affluent Bridle Path neighbourhood. The racist cop stopped, questioned and followed Ron and sought verification of his identity from a White letter carrier.

Ron took his case to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and adjudicator Kaye Joachim found the cop guilty of racial profiling. In rendering her judgment, Joachim states, “I do not accept Const. Shaw's evidence that the applicant was crossing the street back and forth in an unusual fashion. Const. Shaw was well aware that letter carriers do not stop at every house. It was not unusual to misdeliver mail and to go back and try to retrieve it.

"The fact that it was an African-Canadian male without a vehicle that attracted Const. Shaw's attention is what is unusual…."[49] On March 13, 2012, the Ontario Court Appeal upheld the racial profiling judgment of the tribunal.[50]

On May 29, 2005, 18-year-old Chad Aiken, an Afrikan Canadian, was driving his mother’s white Mercedes in Ottawa with his mostly Afrikan Canadian friends. An oncoming patrol turned around on seeing Chad and his friends in the car and later signaled for him to stop. Chad asked the officer for his name and badge number and the officer lied that it was “666” and his name was “Holland.” The cop taunted Chad and hit him in his chest. An audio-recording of the confrontation was done by Chad’s girlfriend by way of a cell phone. The police officer gave Chad “a ticket for a burnt out light over his car's licence plate.”[51]

Chad took the Ottawa Police Service to the Ontario Human Rights Commission for the cops’ racial profiling action. In 2010, a confidential settlement was reached between Chad and the police, which included a “letter of regret” and quite likely a financial settlement. A 2012, settlement between the police force and the human rights commission mandated the police to collect racial data during traffic stops over a two-year period. Chad and the African Canadian Legal Clinic (ACLC) disagreed with the limited scope of the data collection. ACLA lawyer Virginia Nelder asserts “If you limit the project to traffic stops, you’re missing out on all of the young African Canadian men that are stopped on a daily basis just walking along the street.”[52]     

On November 25, 2005, Rawle Maynar was driving in his black BMW while being followed by Toronto police constable Ryan Baker. Rawle drove onto his driveway and alighted from his vehicle and approached the cop to determine the reason why he was trailed to his house.

The cop pulled his gun and the other officers who arrived on the scene did the same. Rawle was handcuffed, placed in a police cruiser, but later released. The cops were looking for an Afrikan suspect in a in a black sports car.

Rawle took his case before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and won his racial profiling case on January 22, 2012. He was awarded $40,000, which was jointly assessed against constable Ryan Baker and the Toronto Police Services Board. In the words of adjudicator Leslie Reaume, “I do not believe that if the suspect had been a Caucasian man in the same circumstance, with no other defining characteristics, particularly age …[that the officer] … would have chosen to investigate the first Caucasian man he saw driving the same car at the same intersection.”[53]

On June 20, 2006, 15-year-old unarmed Duane Christian was shot to death by White constable Steve Darnley who fired five bullets, which made contact with the teenager’s chest and arm. Duane was driving a stolen van. The killer claimed that Constable Rowena Edey, his partner, was in danger of being harmed by the reversing vehicle.[54] The SIU later cleared the killer cop of wrongdoing in this fatal shooting in the Scarborough area of Toronto.

On October 6, 2007, 37-year-old Afrikan Canadian Roger Shallow, a crown attorney in Ontario, was arrested for causing a disturbance and assault to resist arrest at Toronto’s 52 division police station, where he was subjected to a strip search. The arresting officers were Gail Shields, a White woman, and Paul Clarke, an Afrikan man. The charges against Roger were withdrawn because the prosecutor concluded that “there was no reasonable prospect of conviction”, according to the Toronto Star.[55]

Roger filed a racism-related complaint against the Toronto Police Services Board and five cops with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

On June 22, 2008, Nathaniel Fells, 19, and William Drummond, 20, were the targets of racist slurs by off-duty police officers outside a bar in Digby, Nova Scotia. This act of aggression led to a confrontation and a police from Halifax was knocked unconscious. An off-duty RCMP cop used a stun gun on Drummond and he was arrested. However, the off-duty peace officers who were involved in the racist altercation “were ushered out of the downtown area.”[56]

There’s a history of racist police behaviour against members of the Afrikan community Digby. Sgt. Wylie Grim, then commanding officer of the RCMP’s Digby detachment, directed sexist and racist comments at Afrikan female staff members and a colleague. On January 29, 2005, Assistant Commissioner of the RCMP Ian Atkin apologized for Grimm’s transgressions, “Those things had to be acknowledged, and to demonstrate to the community that we were prepared to move forward and to work with the community in developing appropriate sensitivity strategies that would regain the trust of the community."[57]

On September 26, 2008, 27-year-old Stacy Bonds was arrested and traumatized by Sgt. Steven Desjourdy, Melanie Morris, Cameron Downie, Michael Bednarek and John Flores from the Ottawa police force. Her rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms were violated. According to Justin Sadler of Sun Media, “An internal police investigation is ongoing after a judge threw out public intoxication and assault charges against Bonds, ruling Ottawa cops violently attacked her, illegally strip searched her, cut her shirt and bra off, and left her in a cold cell for three hours, half naked, after she soiled herself.”[58]

In dismissing the fictitious charge of assaulting police, the trial judge,  Justice Richard Lajoie of the Ontario court of justice, had the following to say about the case,
"There is no reasonable explanation ... to have cut Ms. Bonds' shirt and bra off, and there is no reason, apart from vengeance and malice, to have left Ms. Bonds in the cell for a period of three hours and 15 minutes half naked and having soiled her pants, before she received what is called a blue suit."[59]

On March 15, 2011, Sgt. Steven Desjourdy was charged with sexual assault stemming from his arrest of Stacy Bonds and cutting off her bra and shirt.[60]

On December 17, 2011, Stacy Bonds launched a $1.2 million lawsuit against “the Ottawa Police Service, Chief Vern White, and Constables Melanie Morris, Steven Desjourdy, Cameron Downie, Michael Bednarek and John Flores.[61]

On April 3, 2013, Steve Desjourdy was acquitted of the charge by Ontario Court Justice Tim Lipson.[62]

In January 2009, Dr. Clem Marshall, a longtime Toronto-based educator and community organizer, was stopped and questioned in a Parkdale neighborhood by cops from the Toronto Police Service. Dr. Marshall was driving a 2009 Nissan Altima.

According to Dr. Marshall, one of the cops declared, “It’s not racial profiling. . . . Two black guys driving a car like mine in Parkdale meant crack. . . . That’s just the way it is.”[63] Clem alleged that the cops’ racial animus was further confirmed after he asked them about the reason for stopping him. One of the cops declared, “Who do you think you are, f---ing Obama?”

On May 13, 2013, the Toronto Police Service and the Toronto Police Services Board settled for an undisclosed sum with Dr. Marshall. A gag order was imposed on revealing the terms of the settlement. The case was working its way through Ontario’s Human Rights Tribunal when the agreement was reached.

On February 1, 2010, a story in the Toronto Star revealed the startling but everyday reality of Afrikans and other racialized peoples being stopped and questioned by the police, “In each of the city’s 74 police patrol zones, the Star analysis shows that blacks were documented at significantly higher rates than their overall census population by zone, and that in many zones, the same holds true for “brown” people — mainly people of South Asian, Arab and West Asian backgrounds.”[64] This information and others on race, racism and policing were compiled from data that covered the period 2003 to 2008.

The Star’s investigation also revealed that police racial profiling of Afrikans in Toronto is “highest in more affluent, mostly white areas of the city, such as North Toronto and the Kingsway.”

While Africans are 8.4 per cent of Toronto’s population, they made up over 24 per cent of the civilians who were stopped and had their information documented on the “208 card” used by the police. Further, African boys and men between the ages of 15-24 were 2.5 times more likely to be stopped and questioned by the police than their white counterparts.

On May 5, 2010, 18-year-old Junior Alexander Manon died after a short chase by the police and while in their custody. It was initially claimed in news reports that the teenager died from a heart attack. However, lawyer Selwyn Pieter had this to say on the subject, “There was blood all over. He had a neck brace on. His eyes were black and blue. The issue of a heart attack is a fiction. It seems that he died from physical force. He was a healthy young person.”[65]

The SIU cleared the cops, Sgt. Stuart Blower and Constable Michael Adams, of any wrongdoing in the death of Junior. At the coroner’s inquest, the provincial pathologist testified that the “cause of death was positional asphyxia after the chase and exertion.”[66] The inquest jury’s official cause of death was attributed to “restrain asphyxia”, which suggests that the cops’ action stopped Junior from breathing properly, but it claimed the killing was an accident.[67]

On August 29, 2010, a Toronto cop killed 25-year-old Reyal Jensen Jardine-Douglas, an Afrikan man with mental illness. He died from multiple gunshot wounds to his body. The police dispatcher was aware of his mental health status, because it was Reyal’s family who called the police seeking help in getting him admitted to a hospital.[68] The police claimed to have recovered a knife from the scene of the killing. The killer cop or subject officer was never publicly identified and the SIU cleared the shooter of any wrongdoing on January 27, 2011.[69]

On September 1, 2010, 22-year-old Ohene Darteh had his rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedom violated by Constable Irwin “The Terminator” Correa of the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS). “The Terminator” charged Ohene with possession of cocaine and the latter asserted that the narcotic substance was planted by the cop. Ohene was also injured by the cops.

Justice Brian O’Mara of the Ontario Supreme Court dismissed the drugs charge and found The Terminator’s behaviour “intimidating, overbearing and oppressive” during the arrest and questioning of Ohene. According Toronto Star reporter Alex Ballingall, Justice “O’Marra dismissed Correa’s testimony as “untruthful and unreliable,” finding it “highly improbable” that Darteh would “initiate physical contact with a larger uniformed officer while two other uniformed officers are present.”[70]

On September 29, 2010, 26-year-old unarmed Eric Osawe was killed by Toronto Police Service’s killer cop David Cavanagh. Eric was a father of two and was killed in an apartment in Etobicoke. After a two-month investigation by the SIU Constable Cavanagh was charged with manslaughter. It was just the third time that a cop has had such a charge levied against him by the SIU for killing a civilian. But one might not want to get his or her hopes up about justice being served. The killer cops were acquitted in the two other cases.[71]

In February 2012, the charge against the killer cop David Cavanagh was upgraded to second degree murder and the preliminary inquiry commenced on October 1, 2012.[72] On March 1, 2013, Provincial Court Justice Michael Block dismissed the charge against David Cavanagh at the preliminary trial and stated that the gun went off accidentally.[73]

On February 3, 2012, Michael Eligon, a 29-year-old mentally ill Afrikan man was shot to death by a member of the Toronto police force. He was set to be released on February 3rd from a 72-hour psychiatric evaluation at the Toronto East General Hospital. Michael was shot to death with a pair of scissors in each hand.[74] The SIU exonerated the cop of any wrongdoing in the killing of Michael.

Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin raised serious questions about the partiality of the SIU’s investigators who covered the crime scene for the supposedly independent agency. The investigators were caught on film wearing police insignia and rings as well as appearing to be in agreement with the police version of the shooting. On the latter concern, the ombudsman thought the SIU investigators arrived at the scene “a whole bunch of pre-conceived notions of self-defence.”

Marin commented further on the appearance of pro-police bias, “When you have people whose family member has been shot by police and the investigators show up on scene with police badges and rings, it creates suspicion that you are not going to be treated impartially and fairly.”[75] One investigator was disciplined by way of a suspension from work and two personnel were required to undergo counselling over the display of a pro-police bias.

On February 20, 2012, Frank Anthony Berry, a 48-year-old Afrikan man, was shot to death in the west end of Toronto (on Campbell Avenue, near Dupont Street and Lansdowne Avenue).[76] The SIU investigated this cop killing in which one subject officer (the killer cop) and seven subject officers (cops on the scene of the killing) were implicated.[77]

The police discharged two bullets in Frank’s torso because they claim that he approached them with a knife, which was later found to be a pair of scissors.[78] The SIU cleared the killer cop of any wrongdoing.

On March 10, 2012, the Toronto Star published the first story in the series Known to Police. The series exposed the extent to which Afrikan must contend with the structural violence of police containment, surveillance and repression:

“While blacks make up 8.3 per cent of Toronto’s population, they accounted for 25 per cent of the cards filled out between 2008 and mid-2011. In each of the city’s 72 patrol zones, blacks are more likely than whites to be stopped and carded. The likelihood increases in areas that are predominantly white.”[79]   



[1] Mathieu, S-J. (2010). North of the color line: Migration and Black resistance in Canada, 1870-1955. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, p. 53.

[2]Lambertson, R. (2004). The Black, Brown, White and Red Blues: The Beating of Clarence Clemons. The Canadian Historical Review, 85(4), 755-776

[3] Canada: Past police trials. (1998, November 7). Toronto Star. Retrieved from

[4] Wayland, S. V. (1995). Immigrants into Citizens: Political Mobilization in France And Canada (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from  

[5] Wasun. (2008, March 20). A Short History of Community Organizing Against Police Brutality in Toronto: The History of B.A.D.C. and Beyond. BASICS Community Free Newsletter. Retrieved from

[6] Lejtenyi, P. Police on their back. Montreal Mirror. Retrieved from

[7] Wayland, 1995.

[8] Traffic Tickets Quota - Another Police Department Confirms Practice. Retrieved from DiManno, R. (2003, October 1). Police union follows its thin blue whine. Toronto Star, p. A2.

[9] Wasun, 2008.

[10] Wasun, 2008.

[11] Wayland, 1995.

[12] English, K. (1994, February 11). Metro police probed black 'activists' Mississauga teen's slaying prompted confidential study Laws hearing told. Toronto Star, p. A.1.

[13] Wasun, 2008.

[14] Canada: Past police trials, 1998.

[15] Death by police. (2008, August 14). Montreal Gazette. Retrieved from

[16] Canada: Past police trials, 2008.

[17] Special Investigations Unit. “What We Do.” Retrieved from

[18] James, R. (1991, May 22). Black group warns Metro police union. Toronto Star, p. A6.

[19] Charbin, S. (1996, June 24). Black activist in Toronto acquitted of frame-up. The Militant, vol. 60./no.25.

[20] Phinjo, G. (1998, October 14). Charges withdrawn in deal for Dudley Laws. Toronto Star, p. 1.

[21] Vincent, D. (1994, April 10). The man convicted as Dudley Laws’ partner. Toronto Star, p. A2. Duffy, A. (1992, May 13). Police wiretaps, fake immigrants used in probe Law’s hearing told. Toronto Star, p. A2.

[22] Death by police, 2008; Lethal force. (2008, August 12). Montreal Gazette. Retrieved from

[23] Mascoll, P. (1991, November 2o). Officer charge in youth’s shooting. Toronto Star, p. A8.

[24] Tanovich, D. Law’s Ambition and the Reconstruction of Role Morality in Canada. Dalhousie Law Journal, pp. 267-310. Retrieved from$FILE/Tanovich%202.pdf

[25] Moloney, P. (1992, May 28). No prints on knife, expert confirms. Toronto Star, A. 22.

[26] Lewis, S. (1992). Report of the Advisor on Race Relations to the Premier of Ontario, Bob Rae. Toronto, Ontario. p.2. Retrieved from

[27] Harney, S. (1996). Anti-racism, Ontario style. Race & Class, pp. 37-38.

[28] Witnesses sought in police shooting. (1993, February 18). The Gazette, p. A3.

[29] Morris, A. (1993, May 4). Let civilians investigate police shootings; coroner. The Gazette, p. A1.

[30] Tourist claims police strip-searched in Toronto (1993, September 21). The Gazette, p.  A21.

[31] Briefly. (1994, April 27). The Ottawa Citizen, p. A.3.

[32] Ewener, J. (1994, May 1). Canada’s own brand of off-color humor, Toronto Star, p. A17.

[33] Police officers cleared in woman’s strip-search, (1995, September 22). The Vancouver Sun, p. 15.

[34] Mascoll, P. Strip-search woman, lawyer vow to carry on judicial fight Neighbors in Jamaica tell her of 3 officers' acquittal (1995, September 22). Toronto Star, p. A2.

[35] Quinn, J. (2002, March 20). Officers win suit against Toronto police ; Retired deputy chief's lawyer says ruling will be appealed Toronto Star, p. B2

[36] Welsh, M. (1994, October 20). Minors sparks firestorm with police ‘armies” remarks. Toronto Star, p. A6.

[37] Rowley, E. (1996, February). Racism alive and well in Metro. The People’s Voice.

[38] (2000, October 8). Pistol fell to ground at dying man’s feet; homicide. Toronto Star, p. A8.

[39] Rankin, J. (1996, June 13).  Fatal shooting is second one for officer. Toronto Star, p. A3.

[40] (1996, June 15). Ontario man hit by four bullets. Globe and Mail, p. A14.

[41]Smith, G. (2000, June 10). Shooting of schizophrenic ruled homicide; Police theory that he wanted to die rejected by jury. Toronto Star, B3.

[42] Pron, Nick. (1999, May 12). Glock pistol fires quickly, trial of Toronto officer told. Toronto Star, p. 1.

[43] Pron, N. & Quinn, J. (1999, May 26). Jury clears officer tears of joy greet verdict in shooting death. Toronto Star, p. 1.

[44] Huffman, T. (2001, May 4). Cause of death stumps jury; Inquest sheds no light on why family man took a doctor hostage. Toronto Star, p. B1.

[45] Borden, S. (2013, June 18). Police assault victim settles. The Chronicle Herald. Retrieved from; Humphreys, A. (2013, June 18). RCMP pay N.S. man $248K to settle lawsuit over unprovoked beating. The National Post. Retrieved from

[46] Rankin, J., Quinn, J., Shephard, M., Scott, S., & Duncanson, J. (2002, October 19). Singled out. Toronto Star. Retrieved from

[47] CBC News. (2005, July 28). Videotaped punch brings assault conviction for constable. CBC News.

Retrieved from

[48] Nick Pron, (2007, November 17). Officer loses assault appeal, led away in handcuffs. Toronto Star. Retrieved from

[49] Taylor, L. C. (2009, July 23). Police condemned for profiling letter carrier. Toronto Star. Retrieved from

[50] Findlay, St. (2012, March 13). Appeal court upholds decision that Toronto police officer was motivated by race. Toronto Star. Retrieved from

[51] CBC News. (2005, June 3). Ottawa teen claims he was the victim of police profiling. CBC News. Retrieved from

[52] Butler, D. (2013, May 29). Tribunal ends hearing into complaint of Ottawa racial profiling. Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved from

[53] Doolittle, R. (2012, May 22). Racial profiling by police: Tribunal awards Toronto man $40,000. Toronto Star. Retrieved from

[54] Rennie, S. (2006, June 20). Boy, 15, dies as police shoot at stolen van; Vehicle sped toward officer, sources say Victim didn't appear to be armed SIU. Toronto Star, p. A1. 

[55] Powell, B. & Small, P. (2009, January 10). Crown accuses Toronto police of racism. Toronto Star. Retrieved from

[56] CBC News Nova Scotia. (2008, July 28). Digby men’s allegation of racism prompts review by Halifax police. CBC News. Retrieved from; CBC News Nova Scotia. (2008, July 7). Police uttered racial slurs, Digby men claim. CBC News. Retrieved from

[57] CBC News Nova Scotia. (January 30). N.S.’s top Mountie apologizes to the black community in Digby. CBC News. Retrieved from

[58] Sadler, J. (2010, November 17). Strip searched woman alleges sexism. Toronto Sun. Retrieved from

[59] Makin, K. (2011, December 17). Strip-searched Ottawa sues police. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from

[60]Hampton, D. (2011, March 15). SIU charges cop in Stacy Bonds affair. Ottawa Sun. Retrieved from

[61] Makin, December 17, 2011.

[62] Seymour, A. (2013, AprilPolice service board faces

[63] Winsa, P. (2013, May 14). Racial profiling: Toronto police settle human rights complaint with former teacher who was pulled over. Toronto Star. Retrieved from

[64] Rankin, J. (2010, February 1). Race matters: Blacks documented by police at a high rate. Toronto Star. Retrieved from

[65] Stancu, H. (2010, May 8). Family blames police for son’s death, demands probe. Toronto Star. Retrieved from

[66] Winsa, P. (2012, May 9). Police played role in teen’s death. Toronto Star. GT1, 4.

[67] Winsa, GT1.

[68] Kennedy, B. (2010, August 31). Police knew of mental illness before fatal shooting, family says. Toronto Star. Retrieved from

[69] Small, P. (2011, January 28). SIU clears officer in August shooting death. Toronto Star. GT 4.

[70] Ballingall, A. (2013, January 25). Public strip search violated Charter rights, judge rules. Toronto Star, p. 1, 21.

[71] Stancu, H. (2010, December 1). SIU charges cop in fatal shooting. Toronto Star. Retrieved from

[72] Rush, C. & Small, P. (2012, February 23). Toronto police charged with murder reports to SIU. Toronto Star. Retrieved from

[73] Small, P. (2013, March 1). Murder charge thrown out against Toronto police officer. Toronto Star. Retrieved from

[74] Rush, C. (2012, March 3). What led up to the fatal shots. Toronto Star, p GT6.

[75] Rush, C. (2012, April 27). Ombudsman Andre Marin slams SIU over pro-police bias in Michael Eligon case. Toronto Star. Retrieved from

[76] (2012, March 4). Two more police killings in less than three weeks. Retrieved from

[77] Special Investigations Unit. (2012 February 22). Update: SIU releases name of fatally shot man in Toronto. Retrieved from

[78] Bossanac, A. (2012, May 4). SIU clears Toronto police in shooting death. Toronto Star. Retrieved from

[79] Rankin, J. & Winsa, P. (2012, March 9). Known to police: Toronto police stop and document black and brown people far more than whites. Toronto Star. Retrieved from


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Ajamu Nangwaya (Ajamu Nangwaya)
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Once again people with no

Once again people with no southern accent tryin to talk like they do. Absolutely horrible. Fox is about the most mechanical actor out there. Movie isnt worth the price of redbox when it comes out. Oscar !!!

While some see Driving While

While some see Driving While Illegal (DWI) as another issue in the illegal immigration debate, for police officers around the country it is just another potential danger. Every time a police officer gets out of a cruiser for a routine traffic stop, he or she isn't safe until it is over.

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