An interim report on racial profiling by police has found Black people are more likely to be seriously injured or killed in an interaction with Toronto officers, finding members of the Black community are “grossly overrepresented” in newly released and analyzed data.
“The data is disturbing and raises serious concerns about racial discrimination in use of force,” reads an interim report released Monday by the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
The Commission announced last year that it was launching a public interest inquiry into racial profiling and discrimination within the Toronto Police Service, using its powers to compel data from the Toronto police, its civilian board and Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit.
Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane held a news conference Monday morning to release the interim report. The final report is set to be completed in 2020.
An interim analysis of data from the SIU, Ontario’s civilian police watchdog, by University of Toronto criminologist Scot Wortley reviewed two sets of data, from 2000 to 2006 (187 cases) and 2013 to 2017 (244 cases).
The review found that there is an overrepresentation of Black Canadians when factoring in population, and the disproportionate impact appears to increase with the seriousness of police conduct.
While Black people made up 8.8 per cent of the population in 2016, from 2013 to 2017 they comprised:
- 25.4 per cent of SIU investigations
- 28.8 per cent of police use of force cases
- 36 per cent of police shootings
- 61.5 per cent of police use of force cases that resulted in civilian death
- 70 per cent of police shootings that resulted in civilian death
“The interim report findings goes some way toward explaining why trust between the TPS and Black communities remains fractured, despite decades of protests, reports, recommendations and commitments related to anti-Black racism,” according to the report.
“It confirms the long standing concern of Black communities that they are overrepresented in incidents of serious injury and deadly force involving the TPS.”
The Toronto Police Services Board and the Toronto Police Service released a joint statement Monday morning in response to the interim report.
“The Board and the Service acknowledge that no institution or organization, including the Toronto Police, is immune from overt and implicit bias,” the statement reads. “We have seen examples of other organizations, which are, by their nature, composed of people, dealing with the same challenges that we face. Nevertheless, we acknowledge that a unique obligation is required from those of us who are charged with upholding the law and protecting all of our city’s people. And, while we may be confronting these challenges with resolve today, we are committed to doing even better.”