CCLA JOINS COALITION OF COMMUNITY AND ADVOCACY GROUPS CALLING FOR ACTION ON POLICE OVERSIGHT

The police force can occupy two states at one time, one they can be beneficial in fostering stability in a society, yet at the same time be detrimental to democracy, freedoms and rights.  There has to always check and balances to ensure that they do serve and protect.

As the Canadian Civil Liberties points out there has to be over sites over the conduct of our police forces.

TORONTO – Today, a coalition of community and advocacy groups, as well as the Ontario Human Rights Commission, issued a joint statement calling on the Government of Ontario and police oversight bodies to immediately implement recommendations of the Honourable Justice Michael Tulloch from his Report of the Independent Police Oversight Review. This statement was prompted by recent events that highlight several police accountability issues that require immediate action.

The coalition calls on the Government to introduce legislative changes to:

  • Clarify the process for Special Investigations Unit (SIU) notification, and the duty of police to cooperate with the SIU
  • Permit the SIU to refer conduct matters to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD)
  • Allow the OIPRD to initiate investigations in the public interest even if no complaint
    is filed.

The coalition also calls on the SIU, OIPRD and Ontario Civilian Police Commission to immediately and transparently implement recommendations that do not need legislative change or significant extra resources, including:

  • Mandatory social and cultural competency training, in partnership with Indigenous and other community organizations
  • Collecting race-based and other demographic data
  • Forming meaningful and equitable partnerships with Indigenous organizations

Coalition members include:

  • Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, Acting Executive Director, Canadian Civil Liberties Association
  • Jennifer Chambers, Executive Director, Empowerment Council
  • Julian Falconer, Principal, Falconers LLP
  • Sharmaine Hall, Executive Director, Human Rights Legal Support Centre
  • Emily Hill, Interim Legal Advocacy Director, Aboriginal Legal Services
  • Renu Mandhane, Chief Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission
  • Howard F. Morton, Q.C., Law Union of Ontario
  • Alok Mukherjee, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Department of Criminology, Ryerson University
  • Aseefa Sarang, Executive Director, Across Boundaries: An Ethnoracial Mental
    Health Centre
  • Knia Singh, Osgoode Society Against Institutional Injustice
  • Anita Szigeti, President, Law and Mental Disorder Association

Quotes:

“The calculated, callous and unconscionable actions of both Toronto and Durham police in their deliberate avoidance of an SIU investigation of Dafonte Miller’s catastrophic injuries at the hands of Constable Mike Theriault and his brother, Christian Theriault represent the most compelling example of what is wrong with independent investigations of police in Ontario.

The failure to interview credible and independent eye witnesses who presented themselves at the scene to Durham Police, the blind acceptance of absurd accounts by the attackers of Dafonte Miller, the wrongful and illegal arrest of the victim Dafonte Miller and the deliberate exclusion of the Special Investigations Unit are all undeniable realities of the Dafonte Miller case.

Dafonte Miller and his family have, as of late yesterday, filed conduct and systemic review complaints with the Ontario Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) against both the Durham and Toronto Police Service seeking a full investigation of what the complainants
say was an orchestrated cover-up motivated by corrupt purposes and enabled by weak
police oversight legislation.”

– Julian Falconer, Principal, Falconers LLP

“The historical relationship between Indigenous people and law enforcement within Canada is one of mistrust and racial bias that stems from discriminatory legislation created to eliminate our culture and our society. The time for reconciliation is now.”

– Caitlyn Kasper, Staff Lawyer, Aboriginal Legal Services

“The failure of two police services to notify the SIU about Dafonte Miller raises concerns of systemic discrimination and ineffective mechanisms to hold police accountable for it. All of Justice Tulloch’s recommendations must be implemented.”

– Renu Mandhane, Chief Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission

“A simple trip to the store can capture police interest based simply on skin colour. We assist and represent people every day who have experienced discrimination at the hands of police officers.”

– Sharmaine Hall, Executive Director, Human Rights Legal Support Centre


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