Councillor Under Fire

Zen Ruryk, Toronto Sun, Aug. 17

A controversial call to fight gun violence by allowing police officers to randomly pull over young black men in problem areas was shot down yesterday.

Councillor Michael Thompson said yesterday the recent flurry of shootings that has plagued the city demands a drastic response.

“I’d like to see that support be provided to police where they would pull over young black men in their problem communities to ask questions to determine whether or not those young black men are armed, carrying weapons,” said the councillor for Scarborough Centre.

Thompson added he only wants to see his proposal enacted as a temporary measure.

‘NOT ABOUT PROFILING’

“It’s not about racism; it’s not about profiling,” insisted Thompson, a black politician. “It is that the police now have got to take measures—drastic measures in cases—to deal with the problems that are happening in these problem areas.”

While unavailable for comment yesterday, Mayor David Miller, a member of the police services board, was quick to dismiss Thompson’s proposal.

“The mayor rejects and condemns this idea outright,” said Brad Ross, a spokesman for Miller. “Community policing is about building trust and relationships in the community. This notion does the exact opposite.”

Councillor Pam McConnell, chairman of the police services board, joined in the condemnation.

“I thought it was an absolutely inappropriate statement for any member of council who knows anything about youth and cares anything about what is going on,” she said.

Deputy Police Chief Keith Forde, who is black, said Chief Bill Blair would “never, ever agree” to go along with Thompson’s proposal.

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