Nunziata supports Tory’s changes to policing

In her most recent email circular, Frances Nunziata says she supports Mayor Tory’s proposed changes to policing in Toronto. The changes

The changes are in three categories:

  1. Creating “alternative service delivery models for community safety response, particularly for individuals experiencing mental health crises, which would not involve police officers attending the scene”
  2. Managing a “fundamental re-alignment of the City’s budget priorities that focuses on the most marginalized in our community, to ensure they have the supports they require to address the root causes of crime”.
  3. Implementing “in full” recommendations to “stamp out discrimination in policing and improve response to people in crises” and review the police budget line-by-line with the Auditor General.

Tory also wants the police to wear body cameras by January 1, 2021.

Nunziata said that she supports the mayor’s recommendations. “They provide a comprehensive framework for a calculated approach to reallocating police funding toward community-led crisis intervention programs, and propose to re-align the City’s budget priorities to put an even greater focus on a robust system of social supports and services, including ongoing investments in Black, Indigenous and marginalized communities.”

She also sits on the Toronto Police Services Board.

Nunziata opposes defunding the police

Frances Nunziata opposes defunding the police—the international movement to reduce police budgets and redirect the money to other social programs. Her position is nuanced, though: she does believe “there are concrete ways in which the City can improve on emergency responses and replace armed police officers with mobile, community-based crisis programs to de-escalate and triage non-criminal incidents”. She also says that she supports funding for social programs as alternatives to the criminal justice system.

Nunziata says she will oppose a City Council motion that would cut the police’s $1.22 billion budget by 10%.

In an email forwarded to me, she said:

Our society is coming to a touchstone moment for a necessary shift in the way we approach racial injustice, policing, and crisis response. I have been genuinely inspired by the spirited dedication and motivation I am seeing and hearing from residents – and especially youth – across our city. This is a time to express emotions, have what are often considered those ‘uncomfortable’ conversations, and address what comes out of these conversations in engaged, thoughtful and effective ways.

I do not support the motion to defund the Toronto Police Service by ten percent. While I appreciate the emotion behind it, I do not agree with the recommendations.

There is undoubtedly a need to engage in the conversation and indeed take action on the issues and injustices that are being discussed, but I do not believe that this motion is the way forward.

I wholeheartedly support allocating funding for community-led alternatives to policing and the criminal justice system, anti-racism education, programs identified in the Toronto Youth Equity Strategy, childcare, affordable housing, Tenants’ Defence Fund and food security.

There are still a number of days before City Council and I am listening to all sides of the conversation.

At the Toronto Police Services Board meeting on June 19th, a Motion by Board Member Uppala Chandrasekera was put forward with recommendations for the Board related to current events. The Board referred the report back to the Chair to allow time to engage in broad public consultation on it. I look forward to hearing these discussions.

I do believe that there are concrete ways in which the City can improve on emergency responses and replace armed police officers with mobile, community-based crisis programs to de-escalate and triage non-criminal incidents involving mental health, addictions and homeless individuals. I also believe that these solutions should be decided in consultation with Black, Indigenous and People of Colour community-led organizations and mental health, restorative justice and legal experts.

 

12 Division is the best

Something unusual is going on at 12 Division police headquarters.

The police in 12 Division are, according to a survey of Toronto residents, are the best in the city, in terms of honesty, trustworthiness, objectivity, communication, and freedom from bias. The study, which was released on May 30, surveyed more than 1500 Torontonians for their views of neighbourhood cops.

The survey found “stark” contrasts in how residents viewed police. Whites and Asians generally found police trustworthy and unbiased. Blacks  were much less likely to do so.  For instance, “Nineteen percent of Torontonians believe that the city’s police officers have discriminated against them in the past because of their ethnic background. 50% of Blacks held that view – some 30% above the population estimate.”

There was another remarkable contrast: between 12 Division and the rest. 12 Division led the rest in every measure.

  • 87% of those surveyed in 12 Division found police honest.
    • Only  60% did everywhere else
  • 77% in 12 Division found police trustworthy
    • 53% did elsewhere
  • 10% of residents thought that the police were biased against their ethnicity
    • 28% did city-wide
  • 13% of 12 division residents thought the police had ethnic biases
    • 51% of Torontonians did

This week, Frances Nunziata issued the division a certificate of appreciation to celebrate their accomplishment.

 

 

Weston’s finest on the news

One of Weston’s finest, PC Peter De Quintal, was on CTV News this week.

De Quintal, better known as Star Wars Cop, sung, danced, and took a Storm Trooper downtown for questioning.

Nnamdi Ogba: Homicide Squad make two arrests

Mayor John Tory listens on Friday March 23rd as Nnamdi Ogba’s parents plead for help in solving their son’s murder.

Two Toronto men were arrested in their homes today and have been charged with the murder of Nnamdi Ogba who was murdered in cold blood two weeks ago. At a press conference held on Thursday, March 29, Superinendent Ron Taverner and detective Jason Shankaran discussed the killing and the community response that led to the arrests.

Nnamdi Ogba

Taverner and Shankaran theorized that the two suspects were arrested so quickly thanks to a sense of outrage on the part of the community along with a highly motivated police force; the police acting quickly to bring the alleged killers of an entirely blameless man into custody. They stressed that Mr. Ogba was a hard working member of the community randomly targeted while visiting friends in Scarlettwood Court. Detective Shankaran told reporters, “You can always judge a person’s family by the people that they’re surrounded by”.  “And I knew I was dealing with a good man here”.

Police shift resources to 23 and 12 Divisions

At the press conference, Superintendent Taverner stated that extra police have been moved into the area to boost their visible presence in ‘troubled communities’ such as Scarlettwood so that residents can regain a sense of security in their neighbourhoods. Taverner declined to say how long the extra officers would be deployed but did say, “The public would be proud to know what the (Homicide) officers have done to bring this case before the courts”.

Congratulations to Toronto Police and also to the people who had the courage to come forward and help bring these alleged killers into custody.

Police are still seeking more information from associates of the two alleged suspects in their search for the driver of the getaway vehicle, a dark SUV.

  • Contact police at 416-808-7400
  • Crime Stoppers (anonymously) at 416-222-TIPS (8477)
  • Online: www.222tips.com
  • Text TOR and send message to CRIMES (274637).

UPDATE: On Friday March 30, according to the Toronto Star, police announced that the alleged driver had been arrested and was in custody.

RBC Bank robber arrested.

The word that the Weston and Lawrence RBC branch had been robbed twice within six days created anxiety in many people. The details of the robberies have been released and it transpires that it wasn’t an armed gang so much as a one-man mini crime wave. On March 2nd, a 30 year-old suspect allegedly saw an opportunity and attempted to grab money from a customer at an ATM. The 62 year-old customer was able to hold on to his or her money and the suspect then doubled down and allegedly went to a teller and threatened to shoot her if she did not hand over money. He allegedly fled with some cash but was not wearing a disguise.

The same person came back again on March 8th allegedly wearing sunglasses and a scarf and instead of going to a teller, made demands of the manager who complied.

The police gave no further details of the alleged suspect except that he was arrested later the same day of the second robbery and was due to appear in court last Friday.

Hats off to the brave people working at RBC in Weston. It’s got to be a horrible experience to be present during a robbery; not knowing the weaponry or state of mind of the robber(s). There are few other civilian jobs where this dangerous potential constantly looms in the background. Thankfully the police acted quickly and this man is off our streets.

One can only speculate what his alleged motivation (let alone history) was but a drug dependency might be one of his demons. Investing in more resources to directly tackle addiction and mental health is seen as more and more important as a prior intervention might have got this man some help and saved people a great deal of anxiety. Now, the courts and prison system will be his social worker, doctor and psychiatrist – at a much higher cost to all of us, and indeed to him. If he is convicted, many doors will close.

Points of interest.

  • Adult correctional services cost the people of Canada over $4.6 billion in 2015/16. We pay around $203 per day to keep someone in a provincial jail and $283 daily in a federal jail.
  • People aged between 25 and 34 are the biggest age group in jails.
  • Canada incarcerates about 115 people for every 100,000 of population; India, an astonishing 33 and the U.S. an equally astonishing 698.

Warm clothing drive in 12 Division

A coat drive in 12 Division, run by the good people in the Police Liaison, the LEF, the TTC, and the TDSB, has given out more than 400 coats to chilly people in York South–Weston—including  100 kids. Now they’re looking for some hats, mitts, and scarves.

If you have any you can donate, bring them by 12 Division, at 200 Trethewey Drive.