Police attack demonstrators during Land Day march. photo by Joshua Best
Police attack demonstrators during Land Day march. photo by Joshua Best

About That Police Budget Increase…

Cop Hits Pedestrian with Car Then Drives Away

A police officer turning left in a cruiser struck a pedestrian in the intersection of Dufferin and Liberty while the pedestrian had the right of way. After stopping and talking to the pedestrian for a few seconds, the officer drove away. 

Failure to remain at the scene of a collision is a criminal offense. Under the Highway Traffic Act, drivers are required to share contact information, help provide assistance if there are injuries, and cooperate in reporting the incident to authorities.

Video of the collision was posted online on Feb. 21 by Dave Shellnutt, The Biking Lawyer, though the incident happened Jan. 10.

After the footage was posted on social media, police announced an investigation would be conducted by their professional standards unit. 

The pedestrian was bruised and their phone was thrown from their hand, but they were not seriously injured.

Constable Says to Put Car Keys Near Front Door for Thieves

A police constable advised those at an Etobicoke community meeting to put their keys Faraday bag by the front door. Doing this, he advised, would help thieves find the keys easily should they break in and would limit confrontations.

Faraday bags stop wireless signals from keys from being read outside the bag, preventing wireless key-copying. 

In light of the record levels of car theft in the GTA, the constable’s advice was widely viewed as an admission of the police’s inability to prevent this type of crime.

Cop Repeatedly Kicks Man in Mental Distress on the Subway

In late March, several police officers boarded a stopped TTC subway train in response to a man having a mental health crisis. The police immediately pulled him from his chair onto the ground, and an officer forcefully kicked him in the upper body three times before another officer intervened. 

This was caught by a passenger on video and widely shared online, once again raising questions of whether police are qualified to de-escalate mental health crisis situations.

Citing a Traffic Violation, Hundreds of Cops Crack Down on Pro-Palestine March

At a march promoted as family-friendly on Mar. 30, Palestinian Land Day, police stopped the march in the downtown east, saying those in the truck leading the march had violated the Highway Traffic Act.

After the police held the peaceful demonstrators for around an hour, police numbers swelled and then, according to attendees, chaos broke out, with police pushing marchers into each other and to the ground, and police on horseback riding through the crowd. 

Dozens of police vehicles and hundreds of officers and were on scene.

In one video, a bystander unaffiliated with the demonstration is grabbed by two police officers, tackled to the ground and then pinned by four officers. In another video, a person is bloodied in the face after being pinned to the ground by multiple police officers. This individual required medical attention. These two were detained but not charged.

Some of the people the path of the mounted police were elderly, in wheelchairs, and others had their kids with them. 

Police laid charges on three people, all for interactions with police.

A few days later, six city councillors penned a letter expressing concern that peoples’ right to peaceful protest was being threatened. One signer, Lily Cheng, quickly distanced herself from it, saying said she didn’t agree with the final version of the letter.

The Toronto Police Association went on the attack, calling for councillors Cheng and Amber Morley to be removed from the Police Services Board, and for Mayor Olivia Chow to denounce the letter. 

Mayor Chow expressed support for the sentiment of the letter.

This article appeared in the 2024 May/June issue.