Reaction to new chief cautiously positive

By Gerald V. Paul

From feedback The Camera has been receiving as we were going to press, the prevailing attitude seems to be “let’s give Chief Saunders a chance.

Indeed Police Chief-designate Mark Saunders, who is a photographer and donates his work to charity and a married father of four, is on a roll, a honeymoon, if you will, before tackling the pressing issues including :

Carding or to some people racial profiling of personal information from people officers encounter, typically young, Black males. He wants to work to find a solution on carding and is optimistic the service is almost there; body cameras (police are conducting a pilot project testing body- mounted cameras); Pan Am /Parapan Games as TPS will be involved in providing security this summer, which will test police resources.

Deputy Chief Peter Sloly said on his Twitter account, “Congrats to @marksaunderstpsthe#NextTopCop for@torontopolice”.

Given support for Sloly from some community media and a number of community leaders, only time will tell if pushback on Saunders is in light of his choice over Sloly or genuinely based on carding.

“We at the (African Canadian Legal) Clinic haven’t had the opportunity to work closely with him and that’s partly why we found this appointment to be bittersweet,” said Anthony Morgan of the ACLC.

At the press conference, Saunders said “We also have to be able to do it by minimizing collateral damage” in reference to carding, a military term which some community members took exception to.

“We welcome you with open arms and look forward to taking up your invitation to meet with you to discuss our concerns face to face.You have been in attendance at the board meetings over the past two years and have heard the various deputations on racial profiling and carding which are violations of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“Our position has not changed and we will hold you to the ideals and standards that we expect of our police,” a statement said in part from Kingsley P. Gilliam, director of the Black Action Defense Committee.

Gerald V. Paul
Gerald V. Paul