Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Public Pressure is Paying Off

Public pressure seems to be getting some results, judging by the decision of the Toronto Police Services Board to call for an independent inquiry into police abuse of authority during the G20 Summit in Toronto. This marks a reversal from last week, when the head of the board said no inquiry was needed, echoing the sentiments of both Police Chief Bill Blair and Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Here is the story from today's Globe and Mail:

Independent review of Toronto Police G20 conduct moves ahead

Turnabout comes just days after chair denied the need for civilian probe; Will look at ‘oversight, governance and policy’ on summit security

Anna Mehler Paperny

Globe and Mail Update Published on Tuesday, Jul. 06, 2010 9:58AM EDT Last updated on Tuesday, Jul. 06, 2010 10:03AM EDT

In an about-face, Toronto police are moving to establish an independent civilian review of police conduct during the G20.

Alok Mukherjee, chair of the civilian body that oversees the police, put the motion forward just days after he said he sees no need for an external review despite strident calls to the contrary.

The review, which would scrutinize issues related to police “oversight, governance and policy” during and leading up to the summit weekend, when police arrested more than 1,000 people – only 263 of whom were charged with anything other than breach of peace.

Both police chief Bill Blair and Toronto Mayor David Miller defended police actions last week; in an interview with The Globe, Mr. Mukherjee said last week there was no need for an independent review after the force announced it was conducting its own inspection.

But he added that police may have made a mistake by failing to tell the public they'd misinterpreted added powers given police by the province.

Tuesday's move is a “prompt response” to reactions to G20 policing, Mr. Mukherjee told the police services board.

“This is a fairly complex issue we're trying to deal with,” he said. “It was a federal event and it presents some interesting issues of oversight and governance. This is just the first step in that process.”

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