Saunders defends continuance of carding

By Gerald V. Paul

Chief Mark Saunders
Chief Mark Saunders

Mark Saunders has welcomed criticism after saying that as Toronto’s first Black police chief he needs time to comment on carding.

“If I don’t get criticism, I don’t think I’m doing the job right. I don’t expect the entire world to think that what I say is right and that we’re all going to be happy about it,” Saunders said.

He revealed that 100 Toronto officers outfitted with body cameras during a one-year trial will be allowed to turn them off and won’t record carding, come May 18.

“That’s almost comical to me. The whole idea of body cameras was to take the ambiguity out of police interactions with the public. If officers can pick and choose when the cameras roll, that makes the whole process completely pointless,” said Andray Domise, who ran for city council last year.

Saunders said abolishing carding is “not the way in which we are going to say everything is going to be better.

“Ending carding, it doesn’t resolve everything. That’s what I said and I’ll stick with that.

“Our officers have to record information off the right people.”

Carding, whereby officers stop people not under arrest or investigation and record their information in a data base has come under intense fire. Activists say it mostly targets young Black men and amounts to racial profiling or outright racism by police.

Saunders stressed that “if they have no criminality, then you have what, that’s a ‘Hello, how are you doing?’

“If you have a criminal element; if you have conditions; if you are involved in gang subculture activity, we’re going to investigate, we’re going to ask questions, we’re going to record those events.

“And that’s what we’re doing,” stated.

Gerald V. Paul
Gerald V. Paul