Persons of color were 20–60% more likely than white people to experience violence while engaging with Toronto police, and Black residents were 230% more likely than white people to have a police officer point a gun at them when they looked to be unarmed in 2020,.
After the study of more than 86,500 interactions between Toronto police and the general public was made public on Wednesday, Chief James Ramer apologized in front of the public for what he called “systemic discrimination.”
“As challenging as it for me as chief and for members of our command and service to come to terms with what our data tells us, I know that it will be even more difficult for those from Toronto’s Black communities who have been telling us for many years of their experiences,” Ramer said during a press conference. “I want our communities to know I am listening.”
The data found that when involved an “enforcement action” such as an arrest or issuing a provincial offences ticket, not only were people of colour overrepresented, the level of force police deployed against them tended to be more severe.
“When force was used, Black people were over-represented in higher types of force used,” police write in the review of 2020 incidents.
The review found 39 per cent of people Toronto police used force against in 2020 were Black.
In that same year, only 24 per cent of people Toronto police interacted with were Black, meaning Black residents were over-represented in enforcement actions by police in 2020 by 220 per cent.
Looking specifically at the 371 times that year where officers pointed handguns or rifles at people, the report found Black people were 230 per cent more likely than white people to have firearms “pointed where no weapons were perceived” by an officer to be on their person.
Meanwhile, white people were 40 per cent more likely to have less-than lethal force such as physical contact, a bean-bag shotgun, baton or Taser used against them by police, even when they were thought to be in possession of weapons.