Thanks for being clear – indeed very clear – that the practice of carding, profiling or gathering Field Information Reports, as they now want to call it, must end. Regardless of the spin, this practice is nothing less than racial harassment and the systemic discrimination against young Black men. (Note the Toronto Star’s statistics.)
As a grandparent of two handsome young Black men, both of whom I love dearly, I am disgusted that Deputy Police Chief Peter Sloly would try to justify this harassment and humiliation of young men in our community. Further, I find it particularly insulting that he would seek support from the community to gather personal information from innocent young men, information which would remain in the police database for seven years and undoubtedly will be used against them. I guess they see these young men as potential criminals and are gathering information prospectively.
Questions on a June 25/2011 and a July 18/2012 revised Field Information Card/Contact Detail form – TPS 208 – include clothing and body markings; birthplace; colour; parents – divorced or separated and gang member or associate. The form also requires officers to prepare a separate form TPS208, based on information gained from the interviewee, for each associate or gang member mentioned during the interview.
Just think about this folks, this information about your son or grandson, who has not committed a crime would be in the police database for at least seven years. Therefore he is now known to police when prospective employers call for a police clearance or, in the case of a student, when an institution calls for clearance for a co-op placement.
Why should we support this harassment of our young people? This would be nothing less than crazy behaviour – insanity.
To those in our community who find it difficult to understand this practice is not about crime prevention should ask themselves why the same approach is not used for men in general as a deterrent for sexual assault and domestic violence or any other crime.
This practice must end and if the police won’t end it immediately then we must organize to encourage those who have been carded to file complaints with the Human Rights Tribunal. Carding and racial harassment of young Black men is a systemic problem in our community and it requires a systemic remedy.
We must also hold Police Chief William Blair accountable. He should be the one giving us answers instead of his deputy, Sloly. Isn’t it is ironic that the organizational face of police support for this discriminatory practice against young Black men is also Black? I guess they expect, with him in the lead, we’ll all fall in line.
Lest we forget, during slavery our ancestors were physically branded. This is another form of branding – as potential criminals.
Our youth are branded socially and psychologically.