The Black Action Defense Committee (BADC) is calling on the Ontario Solicitor General to undertake a full investigation into the “secret appointment” and installation of Superintendent Rick Shank as head of the Professional Standards Branch of the Toronto Police Service.
A press release issued by BADC noted that Shank’s appointment “occurred over two years ago and the community is just learning about it.”
Shank had shot and killed two unarmed Black men and, in one case, had fired his gun 10 times at one of the men. Numerous complaints have been lodged against him.
In April 1993, Shank was a constable when he killed 20-year-old Ian Clifford Coley by shooting him twice. The provincial Special Investigations Unit (SIU) decided not to lay criminal charges against him.
Then in March 1997, Shank and another officer shot 31-year-old Hugh Dawson. Shank was charged with manslaughter in the case against Dawson but a jury found him not guilty in 1999.
“It is unthinkable that the Toronto Police Chief and high command could find no better candidate to head their Professional Standards Branch,” said the release.
“Putting Rick Shank in charge of professional standards is tantamount to putting the fox to guard the chicken coup,” it added.
BADC is also calling on “people of goodwill” to be prepared “to march with us” until Rick Shank is removed as head of the Professional Standards Branch.