Black Action Defence Committee

April 19, 2012 10:48 ET

Hospital Gown Action to Stop Police Violence: Communities Affected by Police Violence Call for Systemic Reform at Toronto Police Headquarters 12.30 PM, April 19, 2012

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 19, 2012) - Members of the newly formed coalition Never Again! will rally at Toronto Police Headquarters wearing blue hospital gowns as the Toronto Police Services Board hears deputations from community members concerned about police violence.

The hospital gowns recall the February 3, 2012, police shooting of 29-year-old Michael Eligon. Mr. Eligon was undergoing a psychiatric assessment at Toronto East General and was killed shortly after leaving the hospital in his stocking feet and wearing a blue hospital gown.

Never Again! is calling for systemic change to Toronto policing. "Vulnerable people, people from racialized communities are being killed by the Toronto Police," says Reuben Abib, spokesperson for the Black Action Defence Committee. "This has to stop."

Members of Never Again! are calling for the following reforms:

1) Comprehensive implementation of de-escalation training so that it is the first approach of all front-line officers working in the community.
"The command and comply approach causes unnecessary escalations. This puts everybody at risk and leads to people getting killed. We need a totally different approach, a complete revision of continuum of force protocols." (Doug Johnson Hatlem, street pastor with Sanctuary and Mennonite Central Committee of Ontario)
2) The creation of a community advisory board to the mobile crisis teams, then the expansion of their services to all of Toronto, 24/7, with the option of their being first responders.
"Crisis teams need to be responsive to the diverse communities that make up Toronto and connected to a variety of community resources so that people in crisis can get the help they need." (Jennifer Chambers, Empowerment Council)
3) No ex-cops on the Special Investigations Unit.
"The Special Investigations Unit is supposed to offer civilian oversight. It's staffed by ex-Police and it's not holding the police accountable. Unless there is an effective mechanism for holding police accountable, unnecessary shooting deaths will continue." (Reuben Abib, Black Action Defence Committee)

The action will begin at 12.30 PM, one hour before the TPSB meeting begins.

Contact Information

  • Reuben Abib