Union cautions cops over race issue

Mike McCormack
Mike McCormack

In a letter sent last Tuesday night, Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack warned officers to take “all precautions” to avoid exposing themselves to “undue jeopardy.”

The idea is not to do anything that could be perceived as racist after both the city and the province said they would look into concerns raised by protest group Black Lives Matter.

The letter, which is on the association website and a video released yesterday, come at a time when Premier Kathleen Wynne promised to meet with Black Lives Matter protesters to discuss their allegations of systematic racism and lack of police transparency.

The group staged a vigil for Andrew Loku outside the premier’s home and at police headquarters at 40 College St.

Yesterday, Dr. James Edwards, regional supervising coroner for Central Region, Toronto East Office, announced an inquest will be held into the death of Loku, 45, who died on July 5, 2015, in Toronto of injuries sustained when he was shot by an officer of the Toronto Police Service.

The police association letter says, in part, “The tragedy of Andrew Loku, who was fatally shot during a confrontation with police last summer and whose death has now become the focal point for a protest movement, is not about race. It never was.

“We recognize that the absence of sound policy and procedure relating to provincial street checks exposes our members to unnecessary risk and jeopardy,” the letter states.

With regards to street checks, known as carding, McCormack suggests officers risk judgment based on “political considerations and agenda as driven by special interest groups.” He encouraged his members to continue to do their job as best they can in accordance with the law.