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Why haven't police released a mug shot of Bruce McArthur?

Last Updated Feb 7, 2018 at 2:14 pm EDT

Bruce McArthur is shown in a Facebook photo. Toronto police say McArthur, a man they are calling an alleged serial killer, is now facing five first-degree murder charges related to men who have gone missing from the city's gay village. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Facebook *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Bruce McArthur was arrested on first-degree murder charges almost three weeks ago and since then, police have not released a mug shot of the alleged serial killer.

The images used in the media have been Facebook photos that show the man accused of multiple murders smiling and posing for the camera. CityNews viewers and readers have raised concerns and questions about why an official police mug shot is not being published instead.

Several comments and emails received by CityNews have pointed out that the images of McArthur in a santa suit, on vacation or at the cottage are markedly different from the way other alleged criminals, specifically people of colour, are often represented when charged with a crime. Without an official mug shot from police, these images posted on social media are the only ones available — posted by the suspect himself.

CityNews reached out to Toronto police with these concerns and received the following statement in response:

“When we first announced the arrest of McArthur, we did not want to release his photo in an effort to ensure the integrity of any information that came forwarded. This was explained during the news conference. At this stage, there is no investigative reason for us to release his photograph. If that should change, we would certainly reconsider.”