Toronto Police spark fear and panic with alarming tweet
Toronto Police say they've received information about a "potential threat to public safety" somewhere in the GTA — but they won't reveal what that threat is, or why they've flooded major Toronto tourist attractions with Emergency Task Force officers.
If you're not going to say what the threat is and release a vague statement as to why task force are out on the streets and to go about our day as normal why mention a threat at all??? It just causes speculation and fear.— ℛaymo (@Raymondraws) July 12, 2018
News of the situation first broke with a cryptic tweet around 9:30 a.m.
"We are responding to an unconfirmed, uncorroborated piece of information relating to the GTA," reads the message from Toronto Police. "As a result of this information, you will see an increased number of police officers throughout the city and, specifically, in the downtown core."
Toronto police are sending more officers out to patrol the CN Tower and surrounding downtown now after receiving what the force calls an "unconfirmed, uncorroborated piece of information." A large police presence including The Rogers Center. News conference at 1130am. pic.twitter.com/h0EdatVWjp— Derrick Scott (@derrickscottrad) July 12, 2018
Ontario Premier Doug Ford's office weighed in a short time later to say that Ford had been briefed by the Provincial Security Advisor and "is actively monitoring the situation" in Toronto.
York Regional Police said similarly just before 11:30 a.m. that they were "working closely with emergency service partners across the GTA as we investigate & respond to the information we have received."
Meanwhile, photos started pouring in from reporters and citizens who noted a massive police presence near the CN Tower and Rogers Centre.
At Blue Jays Way and Front St. pic.twitter.com/6nT82LJEHd— TorontoStar (@TorontoStar) July 12, 2018
Canada's Wonderland is also crawling with police officers, some of whom are reportedly using a drone to get an aerial look at the park.
Members of @YRP Emergency Task Force are among dozens of officers now monitoring situation at Canada’s Wonderland due to “unconfirmed unsubstantiated piece of information” the premier calls a “potential threat”@globalnewsto pic.twitter.com/tJU5YJz1zy— Catherine McDonald (@cmcdonaldglobal) July 12, 2018
Some people were freaked out, but comforted by the news that a police update would be provided late this morning at Bobbie Rosenfeld Park near Bremner Boulevard and Lower Simcoe Street.
That update revealed little more than the fact that Toronto Police are aware of a Foo Fighters concert at the Rogers Centre tonight.
Toronto journalists: Are we in danger? Should we avoid going downtown? How many extra officers are on scene? How did the threat come through?— Kelly Samuel (@jellysamuel) July 12, 2018
Toronto Police: hey did you guys know there's a foo fighters concert tonight
Acting Superintendent Michael Barsky, who is also the Unit Commander at 52 Division, repeatedly told reporters that he could not comment on anything relating to an active investigation.
Toronto Police appears to be saying there is a threat in Toronto, near the CN Tower and Rogers Centre but won’t say what the threat is and they want everyone to go to those venues, like say for a concert tonight.— Brian Lilley (@brianlilley) July 12, 2018
Weirdest police news conference that I have seen.
"The police presence in this area is simply to ensure that the public can come down and enjoy the area in peace," he said, prompting someone to ask why, then, the police issued that ominous tweet.
"I’m not going to speculate on how people interpret the message."
I think you either tell people what it’s about or don’t say anything at all. Now you have people in the city, especially the downtown core panicking and that’s not fair not know what is going on!— Giulia Ruscillo (@jewelzz_14) July 12, 2018
Barksy bounced back and forth during the short press conference from saying things like "we received information that there is a potential risk to public safety" to "we encourage everyone to come down and enjoy the city."
Those listening were confused and, in some cases, upset by the vague information released by police.
the emergency task force is out patrolling areas, which means that this risk is cause for concern and the public has a right to be given more information in regards to OUR SAFETY. @TorontoPolice— B 🌞 (@biancajada_) July 12, 2018
Barksy did say that he'd provide more specifics if he could — and as some on Twitter note, the cops likely know what they're doing here.
"We are evaluating this as it goes on," said Barsky, "And will continue to do so."
In the meantime, try not to trip over all the cop cars, cop bikes, cop motorcycles, cop dogs and cops in downtown Toronto right now.
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