Toronto Mayor John Tory is being criticized for calling Monday’s Allen Expressway protest “civil disobedience.”
The protest was in support of Black Lives Matter, an enormous online political movement that has led to public protests across North America. Monday’s demonstration was specifically tied to the recent fatal shootings of two black men by GTA police officers.
Demonstrators shut down the Expressway at Eglinton Avenue for about two hours.
Afterward, Tory spoke with demonstrators on the phone. He also took public issue with the protest, saying it amounted to “civil disobedience.”
Desmond Cole, who wrote an eye-opening article for Toronto Life about his experience growing up black in Ontario, didn’t disagree. However, he said what’s needed now is “political will.” He also asked if Tory had “heard of it.”
— Desmond Cole (@DesmondCole) July 28, 2015
Cole and other activists, including the Toronto coalition of Black Lives Matter, have been calling for greater oversight of police and an end to the controversial practice of carding. Last month, the Toronto police board voted to continue carding, but under guidelines that call for a receipt to be handed out. The Ontario government is scheduled to have provincial guidelines about the practice in the fall.
@DesmondCole I don’t believe you – no one likes the Allen Expressway! But either way, all support for more attention to the important issue
— jb (@captcelery) July 28, 2015
@DesmondCole The only way the system can be changed is by challenging the system with tactics that the system finds disagreeable..
— Ron Wheeler (@RonWheeler98) July 28, 2015
— mc/rh (@pantsandtie) July 28, 2015
— Ronda Zwierz (@PunnedIt55) July 28, 2015
Andrew Loku, 45, was fatally shot by police on July 5. The province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is probing the shooting but protesters said they’re concerned justice will not be done – especially after the SIU cleared a Peel police officer of any wrong doing in the fatal shooting of Jermaine Carby.
Carby was shot three times after the car he was in was pulled over on Sept. 24. The SIU said Carby pulled out a knife and began moving toward the officers, goading them to shoot him after they questioned him about outstanding warrants from British Columbia and a criminal record. However, the SIU acknowledged that an officer removed the knife from the scene, leading some to question if the evidence was planted to justify the shooting.