Toronto police are investigating a Twitter account that appears to be that of a city parking enforcement officer — a personal account making anti-immigrant and racist remarks, including that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to immigrate to democratic countries.
Toronto police confirm their professional standards unit — which conducts internal investigations into the conduct of employees — is examining the now-deleted Twitter account of a user named Scott Murphy.
A Toronto police spokesperson confirmed a Scott Murphy is employed as a parking enforcement officer. Photos posted on the Twitter account show the same man pictured in a LinkedIn account belonging to a Scott Murphy who identifies as an officer with the Toronto Police Service.
Kyle Ashley, a former Toronto police parking enforcement officer, said he worked in the same platoon as Scott Murphy and said he is the same person seen in photos posted by the Twitter account. Ashley was among the first to draw attention to the account earlier this week.
The Twitter account was closed as of early Thursday, a day after the Star asked Toronto police about the posts.
Reached Thursday, Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association, said the union has been made aware that the officer is under investigation for tweets made on a private account.
“Wake up people all Muslims need to be stopped from immigrating to any democratic country,” read one tweet from the account, posted in February. “They come, they take advantage of all we have to offer, then try and say they’re victims. I don’t see any other religion waging war on democratic countries.”
“Immigrants don’t belong here… they are welcome to come here. Big difference!!!” reads another, responding to a Toronto Star article. “It would be fine if they merged with our culture and society but they don’t. Some/most come here and take advantage of our laws and good will.”
The account also shared a graphic video of a Black man being shot by police. The original tweet, which the Murphy account retweeted, says: “There’s too many folks in the Black community who do not respect authority. They push things so far that police officers have to shoot them. #BlueLivesMatter.”
The Murphy account added: “Don’t forget that after this happens all of the kids are portrayed as alter (sic) boys in the media. Good job by this officer!!!! Keep the blue line boys!!!!”
In response to recent news that three Toronto safe-injection sites were in limbo after the Doug Ford government did not approve them, the account tweeted: “Sorry if I’m not crying for funding cut to an organization that basically takes tax payers (sic) money to help the lowest form of people on the planet. If you use drugs you assume the risk of overdosing. The rest of us shouldn’t be responsible because you’re an idiot.”
In yet another tweet, responding to an article about a proposal to add heaters to TTC bus shelters, the account wrote: “Ya great idea, all those shelters will be taken up by homeless s— rats.”
Ashley called attention to the Murphy account on Twitter earlier this week, saying he was mad and “anyone against xenophobia should be” as well.
Ashley said in an interview he’s “outraged” and “embarrassed” as someone who was once a “proud” public servant, “because I vehemently stood up for these kinds of things, and against these kinds of things.”
Ashley became a popular online advocate for cycling and road safety in 2017, through his Toronto police parking enforcement officer Twitter account.
Viewed as a hero by cycling proponents and praised by city leaders including Mayor John Tory, Ashley’s outspoken tweets — which typically called out motorists for blocking bike lanes — prompted his managers to investigate the “appropriateness” of some of his tweets following what a Toronto police spokesperson said were “numerous complaints.”
The Toronto Police Association filed a grievance over Ashley’s treatment. He later resigned.
In another tweet, the Murphy account responded to an announcement from Marvel saying there will soon be an openly LGBTQ superhero, saying: “Here’s an idea, why don’t you worry about making a good movie as opposed to trying to make marvel movies liberal (social justice warrior) bulls—!!!”
The account also used the word “trannies” — an offensive and disparaging reference to trans people — and, when former Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne lost the provincial election, wrote: “Ding dong the witch it (sic) dead.”
Wendy Gillis is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and policing. Reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter: @wendygillis