For years, African people living in the city of Toronto have had to live with heavy police containment in our communities.
Illegal police searches, police beatings and even police murder of young Africans are a common reality for our people.
The African community has protested over the years but all we get is more of the same.
With the 2006 implementation of the Toronto Anti-Violence Initiative Strategy (TAVIS) things have gone from bad to worse.
TAVIS was initiated in 2006 and has been funded to the sum total of $17 million from 2006 – 2008.
$17 million is for this strategy alone, and doesn’t include the rest of the billion dollar police budget.
The police claim TAVIS was enacted to fight crime but it’s clear that this is nothing but a strategy to criminalize the African community and further brutalize and oppress our people.
The police, through TAVIS, also call for more cooperation from the African community in regards to helping solve so called crimes.
Meanwhile, who do we call to solve the real crime of police brutality? This strategy placed more police into almost every corner of the African community.
It calls on Africans to love the police who oppress us and to help the police lock up young Africans.
This program is nothing more than a snitch program, aimed at deputizing the African community in order to have us participate in our own oppression.
Today, with TAVIS firmly in place, stop and frisk procedures are routine.
African men, women and children are subject to random searches while driving to work, on the way to school, going to the store or just for being outside at a time that’s unsuitable to the police.
Police stop Africans just to find out who we are or where we are going.
Once they learn that we don’t have a criminal record, often our youth are asked “How come you never been arrested?” or “Why are you unknown to us?”
Many times, we as African people don’t clearly understand our rights or are too scared to talk back, so we end up having our rights violated or consenting to illegal searches.
It’s common to hear stories of police brutalizing young Africans.
At the People’s Law School, held by the Toronto branch of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM), a local resident spoke of police beating her and telling her that they intend to ruin her life.
It’s hard not to encounter someone in the African community that has not been roughed up by the police. Police murder of African people is not uncommon either.
They have many other cases of Africans being arrested and found dead in their cells the next day.
In 2006, police murdered 15 year old Duane Christian in cold blood, shooting young Duane five times at close range.
Neocolonialism is alive and well in the city of Toronto.
These crimes against the African community happen under the watchful eye of not one but two African Deputy Police Chiefs: Keith Forde and the recently appointed Peter Slowly.
Both are longtime veterans of the force and neither have done anything to stop the oppression of our community.
One knows this because any African would understand that neither TAVIS nor the police have any place in our community, as their only purpose is to keep our communities further oppressed.
InPDUM Toronto has started a campaign to end police containment in the African Community.
With the launch of the People’s Law School, we intend to teach the African community more about our rights, so to arm ourselves with the knowledge to fight back.
We are, also, in the process of kicking off phase two of our campaign to end police containment.
InPDUM Toronto demands community control of the police and we intend to organize until we get it. Stay tuned!