Create a Force Monitoring System & Police Excessive Force National Database in Canada

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I am starting this petition to draw attention to the extent of police brutality in cities across Canada. In May of 2017 I was viciously assaulted and battered by U of T campus and Toronto police a total of six times. I sustained significant injuries, including Basal Skull Trauma. I was able to survive the deadly encounter and seek accountability by filing a civil lawsuit in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on June 13th, 2019. I would encourage you to read, share, and donate toward my lawsuit fund and campaign here:

Through my policy reform efforts, it has come to my knowledge that a draft policy from a sweeping 2018 interim report on race and policing from the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) recently uncovered that a black person in Toronto was nearly 20 times more likely than a white person to be shot and killed by police. It is important to scrutinize the methods by which state agents enforce compliance, as no other civil servant is given the same powers of coercion as law enforcement officers. Scot Wortley studies the impact of race-based data in the context of police stop and search activities, as well as the analysis of use of force in Ontario (with Terry Roswell). In a recent statement to the Toronto Star, he commented “that it seems individual police services have to come up with and develop their own policy.”

Discussions surrounding the draft's board policy are scheduled at the Toronto Police Services Board starting Sept. 19th, 2019. If this draft policy aims to establish adequate data and competent analysis of police-citizen interactions that involve the use of force and excessive force by officers with regards to disproportionality and race, it is incumbent on the Minister of Justice David Lametti and Chief of Police Mark Saunders to establish a clear baseline or standard for evaluation, as police administrative data tend to be subjective and benign: the police do not do a satisfactory job of policing themselves when reviewing force incidents and citizen complaints. To this day, I have not yet had my case forwarded to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) as required by Section 113 of the Police Services Act.

As such, this petition calls on government agencies to create a Force Monitoring System and a Police Use of Excessive Force National Database that utilizes systemic methods from a smaller agency perspective to identify “patterns and practices” through analysis of administrative records in the manner of Atherley and Hickman (2014). This model can then be linked to race-based data collection, analysis, and public reporting, citing the “historic” policy recently introduced based on the Police Services Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.P.15, as amended, s. 31(1)(c), Ontario Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, Anti-Racism Act, 2017 and Rule 4.3.9.

Toronto police could start tracking and reporting the races of individuals involved in certain encounters with officers as early as next year, if this "historic" new policy drafted for Canada's largest force is approved. Prior to phasing in this new race-based data collection, an effective Force Monitoring System needs to be developed in order to identify use of force and excessive force incidents through quantifiable criteria. A transparent method for measuring the objective identification and control of force is necessary for effective risk management, with clear departmental policies and procedures for entering this into a database that can be easily acquired by the Attorney General and other investigative bodies, such as the SIU.

It must be acknowledged at the onset that official statements given by officers come with serious limitations and setbacks, since force/resistance interaction statements are aimed at justifying their actions. As such, it is important to not only question whether officers would ever be disciplined for misreporting race-related data, but to also proactively determine in advance what governing body will be overseeing the deployment of this new draft policy. More guidance is required by a national coordinating body or authority to establish baseline figures for use of force and excessive force locally, regionally, and on a national level.

It is imperative that this draft policy begins and ends with “good” data. As such, police must modernize their use of force policies and training, update their Records Management System (RMS) and even consider implementing new software products into their integrated suite of Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) modules, analytics, and extensions. This petition also calls on a centralized Provincial Policing Standards authority to help evolve our understanding of force with more transparent methods to define, measure, and collect data on police use of force and excessive force, in addition to establishing clear mandates with regards to routine investigations and exercises of authority by the Department of Justice.

Presently, there is no context for these investigations and no clear mechanisms to help ensure that police are held accountable to the public. As someone that has been egregiously harmed by these deficits in police accountability and transparency, I urge you to sign the petition to make sure that race-based data, public policy, and state jurisprudence with regards to police use of excessive force is driven by evidence-based local, regional, and national data.

For more information about the "historic" draft policy referenced in the body of this petition:

Academic references:

Atherley, L. T., & Hickman, M. J. (2014). Controlling use of force: Identifying police use of excessive force through analysis of administrative records. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 8(2), 123-134. Chicago

Terrill, W., Leinfelt, F. H., & Kwak, D. H. (2008). Examining police use of force: A smaller agency perspective. Policing: an international journal of police strategies & management, 31(1), 57-76.