With Dec. 12 slated as the end for community response to draft regulations on carding / racial profiling, Black Lives Matter (BLM) Toronto Coalition wants the public to tell Premier Kathleen Wynne and Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Yasir Naqvi that the only way to do away with “this racist practice” is to ban it.
“The province announced that they would end carding but instead they’ve put a whole set of rules in place that serve as a “how-to” guide for carding. Rather than solving the problem, it has the potential to make it worse,” said Sandy Hudson, the founder of BLM Toronto and a community organizer.
According to BLM, Ontario has a racism problem when it comes policing. Carding is where police arbitrarily stop people on the street to collect their information, disproportionately targeting Black and indigenous people.
Hudson was quoted as saying that “Here’s what’s in the fine print (of the proposed regulations): police are not to stop people based on their race, unless race is an important factor in the police’s search for a particular individual.
“In other words, carding can still happen to you – if you fit a certain description. Sadly this is almost always the excuse used to criminalize Black people.
“Also in the fine print: if an officer collects information from an individual in a manner that violates the regulation, there is no consequence to the officer, no recourse for the carded individual and the identifying information is retained in the police database. In other words, police can continue to card with impunity.”
She stressed that the policy will also do nothing to eliminate the abundant cache of identifying information that has been collected throughout the years – one of the central issues that activists have been seeking to solve.
Hudson says if the Wynne government is serious about wanting to address anti-Black racism in policing, they should:
• Eliminate carding, full stop.
• Start collecting race-based statistics on a system-wide level. The regulations mandate the collection of statistics but in categories set up by the chief of police. “Let’s collect the data in a rigorous manner not designed by those with an interest in preserving the status quo.”
• Overhaul the SIU and make information available to the public in the name of accountability and make public the names of officers involved in problematic interactions and their history of infractions as is done in the U.S.
BLM, is seeking 500 signatures on a petition against carding and identifies problems with the proposed rules, including that they allow police to stop people based on race if they fit the description of a suspect (already an excuse often used to stop Black people); if an officer collects information in a manner that is racist or violates the rules there is no consequence to the officer, no recourse for the carded individual and the identifying information is retained in the police database.
By Gerald V. Paul