Torontonians had a final chance Thursday to weigh in on public consultations about police reform, while protesters took to the streets demanding that the force be defunded.
The Toronto Police Services Board’s fourth and final town hall on “police accountability, reform and community safety priorities” started at 9 a.m. Watch it in the YouTube link below:
“Throughout my life I have been grateful for the services offered by the police. But even talking about this right now gives me a knot in my stomach. I am terrified of the police … what if they hurt me by accident?” one woman said during the town hall. “And my fear is a fraction of the fear that is felt by many of our friends and families in the Black and Indigenous communities.”
“I think the police need to check their own privilege and recognize that they are not the best people to be responding to all forms of calls for emergency help,” another woman said.
Late last month, city council voted against a cut to the force’s budget, but proposed a series of changes to policing including anti-racism measures and the implementation of body cameras.
But the group that organized the protest, called No Pride in Policing Coalition, said that doesn’t go nearly far enough.
They advocate against body cameras for officers and are also calling for the force’s budget to be cut by 50 per cent, with the money going towards community programs.
Protestors gathering outside of Toronto Police Headquarters chanting “No Justice, no peace. Abolish the police.” Today is the final day of virtual town hall meetings on police reform hosted by the TPS board. @CityNews pic.twitter.com/XsTwZDhiPV
— Erica Natividad (@CityErica) July 16, 2020