Pressure mounts for all Toronto Police to wear body cameras
As people in Toronto anxiously await the results of the investigation into Regis Korchinski-Paquet's death — the 29-year-old Toronto resident who fell from a 24th-floor balcony to her death last week during an encounter with police — many are demanding that all Toronto police officers be required to wear a body camera while on the job, starting immediately.
Someone even started a petition addressed to Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders demanding the process of introducing body cameras be sped up, and it's garnered more than 30,000 signatures as of Wednesday at 9 a.m.
"This petition is to get the attention of Mark Saunders, chief of Toronto police, in order to push for officers to wear body cameras whenever they are responding," the petition description reads. "There has been years of 'pilot testing' and now with Regis Korchinski-Paquets death, a change has to be made."
To my Canadian as well as non-Canadian followers. Please consider signing this petition to get Toronto police to wear body cameras! https://t.co/c2kYerxTdw— ms. bitches (@TVHEAUXX) June 3, 2020
Speaking to reporters last Friday, Saunders openly expressed his support for mandatory body cameras and said he wants to see the process of deployment expedited in the wake of Korchinski-Paquet's death.
"This is a textbook case as to why I have been advocating for body-worn cameras and I'm now fast-tracking to the best of my ability to allow that process to speed up," he said at the time.
The Toronto Police Service has been examining and studying the use of body-worn cameras for several years now, and a year-long pilot project on the measure was conducted back in 2016.
In 2017, TPS announced a procurement process that was expected to take two years before being finalized.
But costs, training, technical difficulties and more have made the process take even longer, and currently no police officers in Toronto wear body cameras while on the job.
Just a reminder that cops in Canada, by and large, do not wear body cameras. And it makes public investigations into incidents, like the one that occurred last night in Toronto, much more difficult. https://t.co/drFIuf6NvF— Justin Ling (@Justin_Ling) May 28, 2020
This, coupled with suspicious events that took place leading up to Korchinski-Paquet's death, as well as countless other instances of police brutality here and abroad, is exactly why residents are calling for the immediate implementation of body cameras in Toronto.
"We need to hold police officers accountable for their actions," the petition states. "If there is no footage to prove the brutality, justice will not be served."
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