Australian woman’s death reveals the human toll of a police shooting: Kevin Cokley

Good analysis of how both sides tend to exploit the shooting to further their positions:

The shooting of Justine Damond provides low-hanging fruit for debates about racial bias in police shootings. One cynical writer observed that Ms. Damond’s death presents a dilemma among white people, in that they have to decide whether the “blue life” of black Mr. Noor matters more than the white life of Justine Damond. Intentionally polemical, this train of thought maintains that blue lives matter only when police kill unarmed black people, that white people do not get upset over the deaths of innocent black women and men, and that white people will often try to justify why a black individual was shot but never do this in the case of a white victim.

Others will argue that the fact a white woman was killed illustrates there is no systematic racial bias among police officers. They will say that the colour of Ms. Damond’s skin had no bearing on Mr. Noor’s reaction, and that police do the best job that they can given the stressful job they have. Still others will focus on the fact that Mr. Noor was black and a Muslim, and use this to perpetuate racist, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric. Fox News has been especially interested in the nationality of Mr. Noor, with over half of their segments on the story mentioning his Somali background. Juxtapose Fox News coverage with CNN mentioning his Somali background only twice (after prompting) and MSNBC not mentioning it at all.

To be clear, the shooting death of Ms. Damond is ostensibly not about race. It appears to be a very unfortunate set of events where a skittish police officer was startled and used deadly force on an individual he did not see. Mr. Noor was, by all accounts, a soft-spoken and humble man who left a better-paying job to serve his community and bridge the divide between the police, African Americans and the immigrant community. He had taken several training courses and passed all of his gun qualifications. Justine Damond was a beloved individual who worked as a spiritual healer, led meditation workshops and was characterized as being passionate and “the most loving woman.”

Yet, unsurprisingly, in a country stained by racism and constant media coverage of excessive police force against black people, what should be the inconsequential fact of the racial and cultural backgrounds of Justine Damond and Mohamed Noor has now been made consequential by the likes of Fox News and other conservative outlets. Some of these outlets have tried to politicize the shooting by using the race of Ms. Damond and Mr. Noor to further criticize the Black Lives Matter movement, claiming that Black Lives Matter activists have not been as outspoken about the death of a white woman as they have been about the deaths of black people.

This has proven to be blatantly false, as Black Lives Matter activists were involved in organizing and protesting shortly after reporting of the shooting. One Black Lives Matter activist indicated that it was important to respond because the issue has never really been about race, but about police accountability.

Former Republican congresswoman Michele Bachmann added her own racially inflammatory commentary when she talked about the growing Somali population in Minnesota and characterized Mr. Noor as an “affirmative-action hire by the hijab-wearing mayor of Minneapolis” killing a “beautiful, 40-year-old Australian woman” for potentially cultural reasons. Ms. Bachmann’s shameful response underscores the current climate in the United States, where the election of Donald Trump has resulted in the open expression of prejudice and a coarsening of public discourse.

Perhaps the saddest commentary is that instead of focusing on the shooting for what it really is – a police officer’s error that resulted in the tragic loss of life – some have chosen to instead score political points and make this about race and religion. This shooting was not about race. This shooting was not about religion. The fact that this even needs to be said says more about the climate of racial tensions and Islamophobia in the United States than it does about the tragic events involving Mr. Noor and Justine Damond.

Source: Australian woman’s death reveals the human toll of a police shooting – The Globe and Mail

How police became the enemy in Toronto schools: Cohn

Good insightful column by Regg Cohn. Activists have the right to opinions and protests but ultimately the democratic process and accountability must decide:

Uniformed police have now been banned from participating in Toronto’s Pride parade.

Will they next be barred from fraternizing with students in our schools?

Anti-police protests have become a recurring theme in Toronto. Black Lives Matter led the charge at last year’s Pride, blocking the parade and out-organizing the organizers until they won the day.

Now, however, the protesters may have met their match in parents and principals who don’t view all police as perennial enemies in all places.

At a raucous meeting of Toronto’s Police Services Board this month, BLM protesters found themselves being challenged by people of colour who are taking a more colour-blind view of security, safety and pedagogy.

Critics describe the School Resource Officer (SRO) program as a “school to prison pipeline,” arguing that police pick on marginalized — read, racialized — students. But when police board member Ken Jeffers suggested last week that it be suspended or terminated like a truant student, the reaction may have surprised him.

One woman in the audience shouted back that he should ponder the blood shed by Blacks because of violence in our schools. As my colleague Andrea Gordon reported, a procession of principals, teachers and students from diverse racial backgrounds expressed strong support for the police presence — though it didn’t seem to influence BLM’s view.

The SRO program is not unique to Toronto but it is uniquely controversial here. Vancouver, Ottawa, Mississauga and other big cities have embraced the idea of placing police in schools, where it remains popular.

That’s not to say the program is perfect. But we should remember that the perfect is the enemy of the good — even if the police are sometimes seen by many as the enemy.

Whatever its flaws, the program has indisputably benefited many students and teachers in the trenches. An independent study of a similar SRO program in Peel suggests the presence of cops is an “overwhelmingly positive” confidence-building and relationship-building measure.

Measuring its impact is undoubtedly difficult. To its credit, the police board ultimately decided to defer any suspension until the Toronto program is properly evaluated. That didn’t stop Black Lives Matter from dismissing any review as a “dangerous side tactic.”

BLM is entitled to its protests, which had a cascading effect on the Pride parade — a private (albeit publicly subsidized) group that can make its own decisions in its own ways. Unlike Pride, the police services board — like our Toronto-area school boards — is a democratically constituted entity answerable to our elected councillors, who are accountable to the broad public and especially parents. Pressure tactics are part of our civil discourse, but representative democracy ought not to be held hostage to protests weighed down by historical grievances about police raids on gay bathhouses three decades ago.

It’s easy to forget the impetus for police in our schools. A decade ago, Grade 9 student Jordan Manners, 15, was fatally shot in the hallway of C.W. Jefferys Collegiate. In the aftermath, Toronto’s two publicly funded school boards teamed up with the police to introduce the SRO program.

The C.W. Jefferys school initially resisted the idea, but later embraced it after another teen was stabbed and yet another caught with a loaded handgun. Its current principal, Monday Gala, is a strong supporter:

“If you come into Jefferys today and see the positivity that is going on organized by this partnership with the police, you can’t deny the fact that there is a place for the police in the school,” he told the Star.

Some feel frustrated that the SRO program isn’t comprehensive but perhaps unfairly selective, rotating 36 uniformed cops through 75 schools across the city. Other SRO programs, such as in Peel and Ottawa, cover all schools.

That has led to the perception that only at-risk Black kids are targeted at schools like C.W. Jefferys. But at-risk — and rich — kids of all colours are just as likely to be watched over by cops at the posh Etobicoke School of the Arts, Riverdale Collegiate or Northern Secondary School.

Would an even larger program that puts cops in every single school appease everyone? It hardly seems like the solution sought by protesters, who sometimes sound as if they don’t want to see any cops anywhere at any time — whether on a Pride parade ground or a Toronto school ground.

Protesters have every right to their anti-police perspective. Especially in the wake of a long battle against carding that disproportionately affected people of colour.

Minority voices, whether held by minority groups or believed by bastions of white privilege, are part of our democratic discourse. But they cannot be the last word in a democratic process.

Source: How police became the enemy in Toronto schools: Cohn | Toronto Star

Human rights chief praises police oversight report’s focus on race and diversity

It all starts with data:

The provincial government’s commitment Thursday to require police watchdogs to collect race-based statistics is evidence Ontario is in “a very unique moment” when it comes to recognizing the need for such data, says Ontario’s chief human rights commissioner.

One day after the release of Ontario Justice Michael Tulloch’s broad-ranging report on police oversight in Ontario, Renu Mandhane said the judge’s work provides a detailed road map to rebuild trust between community and police oversight agencies at a time of “historic levels of distrust.”

Shortly after the release of Tulloch’s 129 recommendations — many aimed at increasing transparency within the police watchdogs — Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi committed to act on the key recommendation that civilian oversight bodies, including the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), begin collecting demographic data such as statistics on race, ethnicity and indigenous status.

Currently, none of Ontario’s civilian watchdogs — the SIU, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) — collect statistics on race or any demographic data on religion, age, mental health status, disability, or indigenous status of complainants and alleged victims.

That move shows “the conversation has shifted in terms of the collection of data,” Mandhane said in an interview Friday, but stressed the importance of ensuring the data is both collected and then publicly reported; Tulloch recommended an advisory board be established to develop “best practices on the collection, management, and analysis of relevant demographic data.”

“There needs to be real thought about who is going to receive the data and making sure they have the resources to effectively analyze the data,” Mandhane said.

Tulloch’s race-based statistics recommendation was one of several praised by rights groups and advocates, who appreciated the emphasis placed on diversity, cultural training and the focus on indigenous communities. The report states Ontario’s oversight bodies must be “both socially and culturally competent.”

During consultations with First Nations communities in particular, Tulloch said there was consensus that the oversight bodies “lack cultural sensitivity and often are disrespectful of Indigenous peoples.” During consultations, he was told of cases where an SIU investigator arrived in a First Nations community following an incident, spoke briefly with someone from the community, and had no further contact.

“Equally troubling, some First Nations communities in the north described having to wait days for SIU investigators to arrive on scene. In some cases, matters were closed without talking to members of the community and the leadership,” the report states.

To begin to remedy fraught relationships, Tulloch recommended mandatory social and cultural competency training for watchdog staff — developed and delivered in partnership with the communities they serve.

The report also says Ontario’s police watchdogs should reflect their diverse communities, meaning the oversight bodies must take initiatives to hire people from communities currently under-represented within the organizations.

“This includes all individuals at the oversight bodies: the directors, the investigators, the adjudicators, and the staff dedicated towards outreach, communications, administration, affected persons services, and so forth,” the report states.

The move toward greater diversity is long overdue, said Julian Falconer, a Toronto lawyer who has represented many families of people killed by police and who also practices in Thunder Bay.

In his submission to Tulloch during the review process, he says he was “quite blunt” about the lack of diversity when it comes to the director of the SIU.

Source: Human rights chief praises police oversight report’s focus on race and diversity | Toronto Star

How will we know when police have earned their way back to Toronto Pride?: Robyn Urback

Valid questions by Robyn Urback:

If the issue is more so about visibility, as some BLM supporters say, noting that police are still welcome to participate in Pride as long as they’re not wearing their uniforms, then perhaps Pride should consider also asking clergymen not to wear their collars during marches and parades.

The religious leaders who choose to join in on Pride activities — such as those from the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto — are obviously open, welcoming and inclusive, though some Pride-goers might find the symbols triggering because of the many religious groups and institutions that are not so open, welcoming and inclusive.

Toronto Pride Parade Mark Saunders

Police Chief Mark Saunders greets the crowd during Toronto’s Pride parade in 2015. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

But if we accept that the police are being singled out because of the severity of their brutality against Canada’s black and LGBT communities — both past and present — which is a defensible position, then perhaps it would be prudent for BLM to define some sort of tangible criteria delineating how, and when, and by what measure police conduct would be acceptable enough for them to participate in the marches again.

Revoking the ban

At what point will police be distant enough from their past, like the Canadian Forces, innocuous enough in their present, like the education system, and adequately inoffensive in their image, like religious leaders, to once again be able to show their solidarity?

If we accept the notion that individuals have to carry misdeeds of the people before them — and the reputations of the worst among them — then it makes sense to prohibit any uniformed officer from participating in Pride activities.

But if we recognize that people are more than simply facets of the groups to which they belong, we’d know better than to paint them all with the same brush.

Source: How will we know when police have earned their way back to Toronto Pride?: Robyn Urback – CBC News | Opinion

US: Low-Income PoCs Still Don’t Trust The Police, But Would Work With Them : NPR

Interesting study with identifying the problem (lack of trust) and opportunity (willing to work together):

While trying to catch a bus to school, Emilio Mayfield, 16, jaywalked. When he didn’t comply with a police officer’s command to get out of the bus lane, a scuffle ensued. Mayfield was struck in the face with a baton and arrested by nine Stockton, Cal. police officers. The arrest was captured on video by a bystander and the video went viral.

A police officer responding to a domestic violence call shot Jamar Clark, 24, in the head as he lay on the ground. He died the next day, sparking weeks of protests. A Minneapolis Police Department internal investigation later cleared the two officers involved in the shooting of any wrongdoing.

Devon Davis crashed his car and was running away from cops when they caught up to him. A witness says officers severely beat Davis in the legs before carrying him away. Police assert that Davis injured his legs in the car crash. Davis sued the city of Pittsburgh and six police officers.

These incidents — which all took place in 2015 — may have been on the minds of residents in these cities when they were asked to participate in a study of their views on the police.

The study, released Wednesday, reveals that while the majority of residents in high-crime, high-poverty areas have a negative view of the police, they also have great respect for the law and are willing to work with law enforcement to make communities safer.

The majority of residents surveyed hold a very negative impression of the police. Less than a third believe that the police respect people’s rights, “treat people with dignity and respect,” and “make fair and impartial decisions in the cases they deal with.” More than half of residents say that “police officers will treat you differently because of your race/ethnicity” and that officers act “based on personal prejudices and biases.” Survey respondents identified as black (66 percent), white (12 percent), and Latino or Hispanic (11 percent). The majority are female (59 percent). Most respondents live in extreme poverty, reporting a total annual income of less than $20,000.

Residents also expressed a firm belief in the law and a willingness to partner with police to improve community safety. Seven in 10 respondents believe that the “law should be strictly obeyed” and that laws benefit the community. More than half agree with the statement “the laws in your community are consistent with your own intuitions about what is right and just.”

And while only 38 percent of respondents say that they feel safe around the police or find them trustworthy (30 percent), they also say they would work with police. More than half are willing to attend a community meeting with police and close to half say they would volunteer their time to help the police solve a crime or find a suspect.low-income_pocs_still_don_t_trust_the_police__but_would_work_with_them___code_switch___npr

The Urban Institute, a think tank based in Washington, D.C., conducted the study in partnership with local organizations in six cities: Birmingham, Alabama; Fort Worth, Texas; Gary, Indiana; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Stockton, California. The focus on households located in the highest crime, lowest income areas — with predominantly residents of color — is a marked departure from most surveys about perception of law enforcement which sample the general population.

Using data from the U.S. Census and crime data provided by police departments in the six cities, researchers identified the areas with the highest concentrations of crime and poverty in each city. Focusing their research in this way allowed them to survey the “people who live in the areas where trust may be weakest, but who may benefit the most from increases in public safety.”

“General population surveys often mask differences between groups,” the authors said. “Those who are white and more affluent are the most likely to respond to general population surveys and tend to have relatively favorable views of the police.” Researchers conducted surveys in person, instead of using the more common methods of mail or phone because residents who are low income, have less education, or are racial or linguistic minorities tend to be underrepresented in phone and mail surveys.

Black people 3 times more likely to be street checked in Halifax, police say

Not surprisingly but still alarming and similar data to that of other cities such as Toronto:

Ashley Taylor tenses up every time he sees a police cruiser because he knows what could be coming next.

“Being pulled over by the police for me,” the Nova Scotia resident said, taking a pause, “it’s normal.”

Taylor, 42, estimates he has been stopped by police an average of three times a year. The student support worker at Dartmouth High School in said it usually happens on his drive to work.

“Is it racial profiling? Possibly.”

He’s not surprised to hear a CBC News Investigation finding that Halifax police are more likely to stop and check people who are black.

In fact, according to information released by Halifax Regional Police, black people are three times more likely to be the subject of a so-called street check than white individuals.

Graphic

Halifax Regional Police began recording data of street checks in 2005. (CBC)

Street checks are used to “look at individuals who are doing suspicious activity,” said police Chief Jean-Michel Blais.

Source: Black people 3 times more likely to be street checked in Halifax, police say – Nova Scotia – CBC News

Racial profiling, budget concerns Ottawa top police board meeting

Not a particularly impressive discussion by the Ottawa Police Board on racial profiling:

Attention then quickly turned to the results of a two-year race data project mandated by a settlement with the Ontario Human Rights Commissions, which were revealed last month.

Data from traffic stops, collected by Ottawa police officers and analyzed by a team of researchers, shows Middle Eastern-looking people are 3.3 times more likely to be pulled over than their percentage of the population, while black-looking people are 2.3 times more likely to be pulled over than their percentage of the population.

The project was the result of a racial-profiling complaint lodged by then-18-year-old Chad Aiken, who said he was pulled over because he was black. Both the researchers that conducted the study and Chief Charles Bordeleau said the results didn’t “prove” racial profiling by officers, which the human rights commissioner took exception to at Monday’s meeting.

“All too often when people like Mr. Aiken come forward to speak about racial discrimination, they are dismissed as being overly sensitive or not having enough proof that their experience is systemic — the ‘a few bad apples’ defence,” Renu Mandhane told the board.

“And that’s why we are disappointed by recent comments that the OPS data does not prove racial profiling. Especially when considered together with the personal accounts that led to the data being collected in the first place, the findings are alarming, are entirely consistent with racial profiling, and cannot and should not be easily explained away.”

Mandhane says she wants to specifically hear from the force that the data is consistent with racial profiling, and says acknowledging it is the first step to fixing it.

Bordeleau said he believes “the service has actually stepped up to the plate and done a lot of things.” He pointed to the settlement-mandated study being the first of its kind in the country. “I want to make it clear that I’ve never denied the existence of racial profiling. I said before that racial profiling exists in society, it exists in policing and that it has no place in either.”

Mandhane also called on the force and the board to make policies to eliminate discrimination, have independent monitoring and accountability bodies, and discipline officers who engage in discrimination.

Board chair Coun. Eli El-Chantiry told Mandhane that the board has committed “significant” public resources to measure how police treat people of different racial groups. “The study showed that there was a problem and we have committed to working with our police service to fix it.”

The board also heard from Danardo Jones, legal director of the African Canadian Legal Clinic, who also wanted the force to call the results racial profiling and voiced concern about including only data from traffic stops in the study. Bordeleau said it was “unfortunate that four years ago when we reached out the ACLC, and numerous times since that, that you didn’t take us up on the offer to participate (in the report).”

Source: Ottawa Citizen | Latest Breaking News | Business | Sports | Canada …

Québec met fin à une discrimination | Les étudiants autochtones devaient acquitter une note de 17 500$ pour une formation offerte gratuitement aux minorités culturelles

Seems like reducing the costs to encourage and facilitate more indigenous and visible minority police makes sense, and ensuring comparable incentives to address representation gaps (SVPM has only 6.7 percent visible minority police officers, compared to the 20 percent of its population):

Tout étudiant québécois, autochtone ou non, peut emprunter la voie normale et obtenir un diplôme d’études collégiales (DEC) en techniques policières en trois ans sans avoir à assumer des droits de scolarité. Mais le programme, très couru, est fortement contingenté. En pratique, seul le programme d’AEC réservé aux autochtones, une voie rapide pour des étudiants qui, bien souvent, n’ont pas fréquenté le cégep, peut leur permettre d’accéder à l’ENPQ afin de devenir policiers et poursuivre une carrière dans une force autochtone ou une autre.

Les autochtones ne sont pas les seuls à avoir accès à cette voie rapide. Il existe un autre programme d’AEC en techniques policières, au cégep de Maisonneuve, pour les étudiants issus des communautés culturelles. La Sûreté du Québec et le Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) embauchent ces diplômés afin que la composition de leurs effectifs soit plus représentative. Or, tandis que les autochtones paient le gros prix, l’AEC en techniques policières réservée aux étudiants des communautés culturelles est gratuit.

À l’ENPQ, les autochtones continuent toutefois de payer le gros prix par rapport aux autres étudiants. Au lieu de 27 000 $, les étudiants non autochtones assument des droits de scolarité d’environ 8000 $.

Au cégep d’Alma, 14 étudiants autochtones suivent les cours de l’AEC en techniques policières. Pour trois d’entre eux, leur conseil de bande a payé la totalité des droits de scolarité. Deux autres ont reçu de 2000 $ à 3000 $, tandis que neuf étudiants ont dû se débrouiller autrement, s’adressant à leur famille et contractant un prêt auprès d’une institution financière, a indiqué Patrick Girard.

Selon lui, les étudiants autochtones font les frais d’une partie de bras de fer entre Ottawa, qui a créé le programme des services de police des Premières Nations en 1991, Québec et les Premières Nations. Le gouvernement fédéral assume 52 % de la note et Québec, le reste. Or en 2012, le gouvernement Harper a décidé de geler sa contribution, ce qui a depuis exercé d’importantes pressions sur les budgets des corps de police autochtones aux prises avec un alourdissement de leur charge de travail.

La situation est différente pour les étudiants autochtones qui parlent anglais. C’est au collège Ellis, une institution privée sise à Drummondville, que l’AEC leur est offerte à un coût variant entre 18 000 $ et 20 000 $. Selon le coordonnateur du programme, Daniel Guillemette, ce sont essentiellement des Cris et des Inuits qui suivent la formation. Or leurs gouvernements assument tous les frais, a-t-il précisé. Cris et Inuits ne dépendent pas du programme fédéral : ils peuvent compter sur la Convention de la Baie-James.

Depuis qu’Ottawa a décidé de geler son financement, l’Assemblée des Premières Nations du Québec et du Labrador (APNQL) se plaint du sous-financement des corps policiers autochtones au Québec. Certaines communautés ont menacé de fermer leur service de police pour forcer la Sûreté du Québec (SQ) à prendre la relève.

En 2015, il existait au Québec 20 corps policiers autochtones qui desservaient 44 communautés et comptaient 401 policiers, selon les données citées par Patrick Girard. De son côté, la SQ emploie un petit nombre de policiers autochtones : ils étaient 27 en 2015, un de plus que deux ans auparavant.

Source: Québec met fin à une discrimination | Le Devoir

Vancouver police launch big recruitment drive to reflect city’s diversity

Article would benefit from including the current diversity numbers (which Vancouver currently does not publish these):

Vancouver is launching the largest police recruiting drive in almost a decade, and the key word for this new class of officers will be diversity, officials said.

Deputy Chief Steve Rai said the police force wants hire 85 new officers by next spring, the largest recruiting figure since the pre-Olympics effort in 2008 and more than twice the size of a normal recruiting class.

Add in 20 recruits sworn in on Thursday, and that’s an addition of more than 100 officers to a police service of 1,400 — a big injection of new blood.

While the VPD has no quotas for members from specific communities, Rai said it is crucial that the police department reflects the multicultural community that it serves. With that in mind, VDP has been stepping up its outreach to cultural communities, hoping it will lead to a multicultural mix of recruits.

“You look at what happens when your police force don’t reflect the community, and you only have to look south of the border,” he said. “You see people feeling it’s ‘us-against-them,’ and there’s a lack of trust.

 “It’s about acquiring, building and maintaining public trust … We are all in this together, so it starts with citizens seeing their police forces reflecting of them and the community. It has to reflect the fact it’s not ‘us-against-them,’ but ‘we.’”

According to the 2011 census, Vancouver has 18 languages identified as “most spoken at home” by more than 1,000 residents each. Besides English, the most spoken language at home for 98,855 Vancouverites were Chinese languages. Punjabi (10,500), Tagalog (9,345), Vietnamese (7,475), Korean (5,445) and Spanish (5,245) all topped 5,000 speakers.

Rai admits that there remains a stigma in some communities about policing, stemming from experiences and perceptions of police in other countries. He said the VPD is trying to break down the walls by attending as many community events as possible, and that as the second-generation acclimatizes to Canadian culture, the acceptance level has correspondingly risen.

“I know a lot of parents who aren’t supportive of their kids to go into policing because of the stigma that exists in their countries of origin,” Rai said. “But as time passes, barriers come down. You build that trust by talking to people and being sincere.

“We understand we have to flexible with changing society norms, and we want to make sure we hire the best,” he added. “We will mentor you to be successful, no matter what your background is. I’m a 25-year member, and there’s not one day that I’ve ever regretted my decision to become a police officer. The profession sells itself.”

Source: Vancouver police launch big recruitment drive to reflect city’s diversity | Vancouver Sun

Meanwhile:

The Vancouver Police Department says street checks are not on the rise, two weeks after the police complaint commissioner expressed concern about the department’s use of the practice.

The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner, a provincial body that oversees complaints involving municipal police, in a report late last month cited “an increasing trend in complaint allegations involving the police practice of conducting street checks.” The report, however, did not provide a total.

Street checks, or carding, can refer to stopping individuals to gather information without a reasonable suspicion of an offence. The issue has drawn significant attention in Ontario, where the provincial government announced regulations restricting carding in March after complaints were raised about privacy violations and police were accused of disproportionately targeting minorities.

Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer said he has not seen any numbers to validate the police complaint commissioner’s claim.

“I’ve got no data to suggest that that is the case. I’d be happy to see data if someone is providing it,” he told reporters outside a police board meeting Thursday.

A Vancouver Police Department spokesman said it conducted about 6,200 street checks last year – compared with 6,900 two years ago, and 7,300 three years ago.

…Chief Palmer said he meets with his department’s professional standards section every week but has not seen an increase in complaints involving street checks.

A spokesperson for the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner said it has observed an increase in such complaints, but is still working to pull the exact number from its files.

 Vancouver Police Department denies that carding is on the rise 

Port du hijab: le SPVM «ouvert» à l’idée pour ses policières

Good that it provokes discussion in other police forces located in diverse communities (the SPVM does not report publicly on its diversity last time I checked):

La Gendarmerie royale du Canada (GRC) permet désormais à ses policières musulmanes de porter le hijab, mais qu’en est-il des principaux corps policiers du Québec ? Le Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) n’a jamais reçu de demandes à ce sujet, mais se dit « très ouvert » à l’idée.

Afin de refléter davantage la population canadienne et d’encourager des femmes musulmanes à envisager une carrière policière, la GRC a récemment décidé d’autoriser le port du hijab. La GRC insiste sur le fait que le foulard a été conçu pour être sécuritaire, après une série de tests rigoureux. La nouvelle a fait le tour du monde.

« Nous n’avons pas pris position sur le sujet, mais nous sommes très ouverts à ce genre de demandes », a indiqué hier la commandante du SPVM Marie-Claude Dandenault. Cette prise de position de la GRC incite le corps policier montréalais à évaluer la question, dit-elle. Au Canada, les forces armées, la police de Toronto et la police d’Edmonton permettent déjà le port du foulard.

« J’ai toujours dit, tant qu’il y a le visage découvert, je n’ai pas de problème avec ça », a quant à lui déclaré hier le maire de Montréal, Denis Coderre, en réponse à une question sur le sujet.

Comme le SPVM, la Sûreté du Québec (SQ) n’a jamais reçu de demandes de ses membres en ce sens.

 « On n’a jamais pris position », a indiqué le lieutenant Jason Allard, responsable des communications au sein de la police provinciale, qui a souligné qu’il ne voulait pas commenter la décision de la GRC

« On n’a jamais eu de demandes d’accommodement d’uniformes pour des motifs religieux », indique le lieutenant Jason Allard, responsable des communications à la SQ.

Le lieutenant Allard affirme que la Sûreté du Québec a fait des efforts au cours des dernières années afin d’augmenter le nombre de femmes et de membres issus des communautés culturelles au sein du corps policier. « On privilégie une meilleure représentation de toutes les cultures, mais on ne vise pas de groupe spécifique comme l’a fait la GRC », dit-il.

And Calgary is already ahead: