By TOM GODFREY
One of Toronto’s foremost police watchdog groups has joined some Peel residents in demanding the removal from office of that region’s Chief of Police, Jennifer Evans, who they say is widely mistrusted in the Black community.
Evans has refused to step down as chief despite calls from the community because of her refusal to end the racial profiling and carding of Blacks in Peel Region. She leads the third-largest municipal police force in Canada with more than 2,000 officers.
The calls for Evans to be booted came up again last week from a large number of Peel residents who attended a public meeting hosted by Justice Michael Tulloch, who was appointed by the province to head a review of Ontario’s three police oversight bodies.
Residents said there is a general mistrust by members of the Black community against Evans and her officers, who they claim still conduct racial profiling and carding of Black youths, which has been outlawed by the Ontario government that is installing new guidelines to begin next year.
“There is no trust or confidence in this chief and she has to be fired because she has refused to resign,” said Kingsley Gilliam of the Black Action Defense Committee (BADC). “Residents have lost all confidence in her since she has refused to stop carding in Peel Region.”
Gilliam predicts there will be very little racial harmony between Blacks and Peel cops until Evans has been sent packing.
“Chief Evans has been insubordinate to the wishes of the community and the Peel Police Services Board and has to be fired,” he told Share. “The community will not be able to regain confidence or trust in their police until she is gone.”
He has joined La Tanya Grant and dozens who showed up at the Peel meeting to call for an end of the victimization and targeting of Blacks by police.
“Chief Evans needs to resign,” Grant told the audience. “She is condoning carding which needs to stop in Peel Region.”
Grant – a family member of Carby and a member of the Justice for Jermaine Carby Committee – along with other members of Carby’s family, filed a lawsuit against Evans, the board and seven Peel officers in regards to Carby’s death. He was shot and killed by Peel cops in 2014 during a traffic stop while riding in a vehicle being driven by another man.
The family alleges Carby was racially profiled and subjected to an unlawful street check on the night of his death.
She was among about 75 Peel residents at the meeting that was chaired by Justice Tulloch. Many of the attendees wanted Evans to be fired.
Tulloch, who is holding hearings across the Greater Toronto Area, was appointed to head a review into transparency and accountability of the Special Investigations Unit, the Office of Independent Police Review Director and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission.
Dwight Campbell of the Peel Coalition Against Racialized Discrimination, compared the police treatment of Blacks in Peel to that of northern Alabama, where he grew up.
“Chief Evans really does need to step down because she has shown time and again that she’s not interested in change,” he said.
Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey, who sits on the Peel Police Services Board, has said she is working to make her city more equitable and responsible for everyone.
“I believe some policies at Peel Region Police need a refresh and a new set of eyes looking at them,” she told the Toronto Star. “And that’s become evident over the last couple of years.”
Tensions have escalated between Evans and some residents and community groups in Peel after she refused a request by the board to suspend carding.
Further meetings by Tulloch to seek input from the community will be held on Thursday, October 13 at the Woodbridge Pool and Memorial Arena and on Monday, October 17 at the Shingwauk Auditorium in Sault St. Marie.