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Police Oversight Community Coalition Statement Launch: Remarks by OHRC Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane

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August 16, 2017

TORONTO – Today, a coalition of community and advocacy groups, as well as the Ontario Human Rights Commission, issued a joint statement calling on the Government of Ontario and police oversight bodies to immediately implement recommendations of the Honourable Justice Michael Tulloch from his Report of the Independent Police Oversight Review. This statement was prompted by recent events that highlight several police accountability issues that require immediate action.  Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane delivered the following remarks at a press conference at Queen's Park.

Police Oversight Community Coalition Statement Launch

"Thank you to our community partners here this morning who have spoken so passionately about their work and the experience of Dafonte Miller at the hands of two police services.

What happened to this young Black man illustrates a pervasive problem that has been identified by the community going back decades. Today, the community again speaks with one voice: Ontario needs more effective police oversight, especially in relation to alleged systemic discrimination.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission has long been concerned with systemic discrimination in policing, which is a lived reality for many vulnerable and marginalized people.

 There have been far too many instances to ignore of racial profiling of Black and Indigenous peoples, discriminatory use of force on people with mental health disabilities and addictions, and racism and sexism in investigations of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The end result is a lack of confidence in the public institutions created to keep us safe. This lack of trust undermines effective policing and ultimately public safety.

Andrew Loku was shot by police over two years ago. His death led to the appointment of Justice Tulloch to review and make recommendations related to police oversight. But reports, reviews, and recommendations are meaningless unless they lead to action.

Justice Tulloch provided his report to the Government nearly 5 months ago, and the Government has, to date, only committed to implementing a handful of his 129 recommendations. That is why we have joined with our community partners today to write to the Attorney General and police oversight agencies urging them to immediately and transparently implement Justice Tulloch’s recommendations.

With the experience of Dafonte Miller at the forefront of our minds, the time for action is now – and not just from the government, but from the oversight agencies themselves.

Now is the time to ensure accountability for systemic discrimination. And now is the time to take concrete steps to rebuild public trust in law enforcement."