12 Division may be amalgamated

Frances Nunziata announced this week that 12 Division, which polices Weston, may be amalgamated with another police division. 

The Way Forward, a report on Toronto’s police (and its large and expanding budget) was released this week. It says some notable things. TAVIS, a community policing program that saw many police come to Weston, was a “mistake”. It led to strained relationships with “racialized youth, who felt unfairly targeted”. TAVIS will be disbanded.

The report also recommends exploring the amalgamation of several divisions, among them 12 and 13 divisions.

12d

A petition to stop the amalgamation has been launched. Rather modestly, it hopes to get 100 signatures, but it says that

12 Division is virtually going to abandon an at-risk neighbourhood. Mount Dennis is an area known to have gang activity, gun violence, robberies and is heavily populated by addicts, as well as dealers.

Your correspondent is quite sure that there are more dealers and addicts in Rosedale, but he also supposes that picking at threads can unravel good intentions.

TAVIS cut deeply

The province has all-but cancelled funding to the TAVIS program that sent police to troubled areas in the wake of a violent crime spree. The TAVIS program brought cops to Weston for the three summers of 2011–2013.

TAVIS had benefits. Cops, especially cops on bikes, were more visible. They participated in community outreach and had community events. They gave a sense that people cared and were trying to put a stop to bloodshed and gunplay that seemed rampant.

But there was darkness. TAVIS police were zealous. They stopped minorities, especially young black men, at a disproportionate rate, leading to antipathy. “Engagement” became zealous enforcement and may have treaded too close to harassment.

Now, the $5 million dollar program is being cut in half, and eventually to zero. The program will be replaced, though it is not clear with what.

 

Mark Moore found guilty

Mark Moore has been found guilty of four counts of first degree murder. Moore killed four men in Toronto, including two in Weston: Mike James and Courthney Facey.

James and Facey were murdered in the autumn of 2010 while they ate a late dinner in an alley off Weston Road. They were, by all accounts, doing nothing wrong, and they had done nothing to cross Moore, a dangerous man with a long criminal history.

Moore killed them from his BMW X5, shooting each several times. Facey died on the spot. James died later in the hospital.

Moore told his friend and accomplice, Kevin Williams (also imprisoned) that “the angel of death” motivated him to kill the innocent young men, who were members of the same dance troupe. It isn’t clear, though, what his motivations were, or even if he had any. According to Rosie DiManno,

The Crown alleged that Moore hated the Weston Rd. area, and that location in particular, because that was where he’d been shot in the face at 17, leaving the left side of his face disfigured.

Earlier that evening he’d become angry about a reference to the Crips, the gang he said was responsible for the shooting, which was why he drove to the location where he was shot with Williams, the Crown alleged.

He also may have shot the men to improve his street reputation, or because he was an aspiring gangsta rapper and wanted to be someone whose name “shakes the streets”.

Moore will be sentenced to life in prison. He may be eligible for a parole in 25 years, but sentencing laws have recently changed, and the judge has the right to sentence him to a longer period of parole ineligibility.

No TAVIS this summer

12 Division, which includes Weston, will not be getting the TAVIS program this summer, according to Frances Nunziata’s office.

The TAVIS program, which puts extra cops on bikes and in the community in the summertime, had run in Weston since at least 2011. It is designed as an intensive crime- and violence-reduction strategy.

TAVIS will be in 51 Division (Regent Park) this year.

Toronto Police to review ‘street checks’

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.

TAVIS helps out with Frontlines cleanup

TAVIS police officers teamed up with Frontlines youth last week to help with a community clean-up day. The coppers tidied up around the centre and helped out with the barbeque.

The TAVIS program sends extra officers to high priority neighbourhoods. Part of their work is, of course, responding to crime, but they also reach out to the community by attending events.

Photos from 12 Division.

TAVIS BBQ AOK

None other than CTV’s Colin D’Mello was in Memorial Park on Sunday as 12 Division officers hosted a community barbecue. The idea was to hold a meet and greet with the community where people could ask questions about the 25 Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS) officers who will be patrolling the Weston area for the summer. Officers will be on bicycles, horseback and on foot patrol.

Colin D'Mello prepares for his news segment.
Colin D’Mello prepares for his news segment at the TAVIS barbecue.

We can only wish the officers success in their summer mission and hope that they are able to cover more territory by moving around in smaller groups rather than the larger ones deployed a couple of years ago.