Toronto Black Lives Matter protesters have forced city officials to investigate the alleged racist behavior of the province’s Special Investigations Unit.
The SIU has been accused of having anti-Black sentiments.
The unit serves as a civilian police group that investigates and examines deaths, serious injuries or sexual assault allegations. The SIU deals with incidents involving Ontario police specifically.
Premier Kathleen Wynne, the minister responsible for the new Anti-Racism Directorate, has come under fire for the police’s treatment of Black citizens in the province.
Atlanta Black Star reported that Toronto’s protesters were outraged over the killing of Andrew Loku, a 45-year-old Black man. Loku was a mentally ill man who immigrated from South Sudan to Ontario. He was shot by a Toronto police officer in July of 2015, according to reports by Atlanta Black Star. Loku was holding a hammer inside his apartment building when he was shot dead.
After the SIU investigated the unnamed officer involved, no charges were brought against him.
— Fatin Chowdhury (@fatinic) April 1, 2016
— George Talusan (@gtalusan) April 1, 2016
This announcement of no charges came March 18, and protests quickly followed.
City officials Mike Layton, Kristyn Wong-Tam and Gord Perks brought forth a motion Friday asking the city council to request a wide review of police services in Toronto and of the SIU. The officials want to examine the way police services are provided in Toronto. This review process will also examine how the Special Investigations Unit deals with cases that involve people from “racialized communities.”
The councilors’ want the review process to include public consultation with the affected communities.
The Toronto Star reports that the wide sweep will be conducted by Premier Wynne. Protesters from the Toronto Black Lives Matter group staged a vigil Thursday night outside the private residence of the province’s top official.
“Most in Toronto acknowledge that there is a growing lack of trust between those in authority and our community, in particular around anti-Black racism,” Layton said in an interview Thursday.
The officials were moved to write this motion after recent protests for Loku. The protests have been going on in the city for most of March.
“Black Lives Matter, community outreach workers and mental health agencies have all been speaking out and telling us that people are not being treated justly,” Layton, Wong-Tam and Perks wrote in the motion.
This new development is happening while the city erupts into multiple new protests over alleged police corruption and racism.