The Toronto Police are hiring youth from our community to help with community events, crime prevention, outreach, and administration. Young people between 15 and 18 years old from Weston and Mount Dennis are being encouraged to apply online.
A Weston woman has been denied entry to the United States based on medical records that should never have been made available to anyone. Homeland Security seems to have somehow got access to her private files.
According to Mike Sullivan’s letter to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Ellen Richardson was refused at Pearson on the grounds of a “mental illness episode” she had in 2012.
This is not the first time someone who has had troubles with mental illness has been refused entry. Wikileaks revealed that US Authorities can access Canadian police databases, and they have used that access to refuse entry to others who have had mental health crises.
Richardson’s case is even more complicated, however. She has suffered two episodes of depression: one in 2012 and one in 2001. The border guard mentioned, and documented, the 2012 episode—and no police were involved. He appears to have known, somehow, her private medical history.
Sullivan asks the Privacy Commissioner a simple, pointed question: “How are medical records of Canadians ending up in the hands of US Homeland Security?”
Toronto Police are going to hold a special meeting to gather input on ‘street checks’—also called ‘carding’—a practice that has concerned many citizens and members of minority groups.
Police are ‘carding’ when they stop, question and fill out a card with the resident’s information. The card is kept by the police and may be used in further investigations. Carding is controversial, because minority groups are targeted: black males are carded 2.5 times as often as white males. Police fill out about 400,000 cards every year.
The Star sums up the feelings of critics:
But a friendly, get-to-know-you encounter is not the experience young black men report having when they are stopped and documented by police. Their personal details are entered into a database. They become “known to police.” Their friends become “associates.” No wonder one young man called it a “system of oppression.”
Carding is frequent in Weston and Mount Dennis, and police have defended it in past community meetings. The upcoming meeting, though, will be city-wide. Police hope to create policies to govern the practice.
The meeting will be on Monday, November 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm in Council Chambers of City Hall.
Frances Nunziata has emailed residents about the police plans for Elm Park. The police will, she says, “pay special attention to the area with increased uniformed presence and enforcement efforts as deemed appropriate. The approach of the Police will be to encourage the use of the park in a way that is safe and comfortable for everyone.”
Your humble correspondent thinks that the youth in question—there are three troublemakers who are bringing the fuzz—have already split. Since the community meeting, I’ve seen them only once, and they were just passing through.
Sammy Yatim, an 18-year-old man, was killed on an empty streetcar last month after he halfheartedly threatened passengers and police. The video exposed what appears to be the completely unnecessary murder of a young man.
A Taser may have prevented Yatim’s death, as well as the shooting of a troubled man at the Weston Crossroads Plaza last year. Critics, however, say that arming police with Tasers will lead to their overuse.
Frances Nunziata, our councillor, said that she opposes an increase in the police budget that would be used for more Tasers.
“To come forward with an increase in your capital budget, we cannot support that,” board member Councillor Frances Nunziata told the chief. “There should be a zero budget increase from the year before.”
The police are asking for an increase of $3.5 million for their capital budget. They will be meeting with the public on Tuesday, September 4, to discuss the role of the weapons in the force.
Police had been asking for help investigating the collision, which happened on Langdon Avenue, in Mount Dennis. The 69-year-old woman had been standing by the door of a 2004 Nissan Sentra, when the driver, 71, reversed, striking her.