A black person is 20 times more likely to be shot dead by police than a white person in Canada’s largest city, according to a new damning report from Ontario province’s human rights watchdog.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission studied seven years of data related to interactions between police and black residents in Toronto for the report, which was released on Monday and found that the city’s black citizens are disproportionately discriminated against by police.
The group also spoke to 130 people in black communities about their experience of “fear, trauma and humiliation”, which has fostered “mistrust and expectations of negative treatment by police”.
“Even where individuals did not have first-hand experiences, high profile incidents or experiences of friends and family reinforced community distrust,” the report said.
Although only less than 10 percent of Toronto’s 2.7 million people are black, they account for 30 percent of police use-of-force incidents that result in serious injury or death, 60 percent of deadly encounters with police and 70 percent of fatal police shootings.
The figures have not changed since 2000.
Officers involved in incidents provided biased and untrustworthy testimony, inappropriately tried to stop incidents from being recorded and failed to cooperate with the investigating unit.
Toronto Police responded on Monday by issuing a statement acknowledging the concerns raised in the report and promising to build upon efforts to address bias.
“We recognise that there are those within Toronto’s black communities who feel that, because of the colour of their skin, the police, including when it comes to use of force, have at times, treated them differently.”