Action needed following Toronto police report on race-based use of force says Tanya SharpeCategories: Faculty, Leadership, Research, Tanya Sharpe
Both CTV News and CP24 spoke to Associate Professor Tanya Sharpe about the Toronto police report released June 15, 2022, which found, among other things, that Black residents were more than twice as likely to be subjected to enforcement actions, such as an arrest or ticket. They were also more than twice as likely to have a firearm pointed at them when they appeared unarmed compared to white people. Police Chief James Ramer issued a public apology for systemic discrimination, but many said his remarks didn’t go far enough.
“Institutional racism and systemic anti-Black racism is allowed to thrive as a result of the implementation and structures of institutional policy, but also as a result of the individuals who execute those policies. Both of those points of contention must be included in the examination and conversation about police use of force and misconduct,” said Sharpe.
“While the apology [from the police chief] is perhaps a beginning, I want, and I think the community also wants, to see action. How are the actionable items to address the issue of anti- Black racism and policy brutality going to be implemented and how are they also going to be monitored?”
As Sharpe noted in her interview, the collection of race-based data has been a long time coming. In recent years, she and colleagues from U of T — including #FIFSW alumna and Assistant Professor Notisha Massaquoi, who has a graduate cross-appointment to FIFSW — advocated for the Toronto police to collect data by race. The policy requiring the police to collect race-based data was unanimously passed on September 19, 2019.
Sharpe is part of a team of researchers who recently received a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant to create a publicly accessible online database of police-involved and carceral deaths across Canada. Led by Assistant Professor Alexander McClelland of the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Carleton University, this project promises to provide more important data related to police use of force and the impact this violence has on victims and their families.
Learn more about the recent Toronto Police report:
- 9 key findings from the landmark Toronto police report on systemic anti-Black discrimination
- Toronto police chief publicly apologizes for policing Black residents
- ‘We do not accept your apology’: Activist brings Toronto police conference on race-based use of force data to a standstill
In the video, above, Sharpe talks about she is working to amplify the voices of Black survivors of homicide victims in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) through The CRIB.