Toronto Police Withhold Info on Racial Component of Contacts


More than a year after Toronto police got the go-ahead to collect race-based criminal justice statistics, they're still not releasing them publicly to help people determine whether there is a racial bias in policing, reports the Toronto Star. Determining whether blacks, for example, were stopped more often or treated more harshly for the same crimes than whites was the key argument for collecting the race-based data in the first place.

Police policy is to make the data public only “when deemed necessary.” And though there have been requests for the statistics, a police spokesperson says, “to date, they have never been released.” The concern is that the data could be twisted and read any which way. But a report last week by two Ontario criminologists calls that logic into question, yet again. They argue that what police forces across this country are really doing by withholding data is “whitewashing criminal justice.” In two investigative series, in 2002 and 2010, the Star found that blacks were treated more harshly and stopped more often than whites.

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