55 division toronto police

Toronto Police confronted by protesters demanding justice for racially motivated attacks

Yet another demonstration against race-based violence and discrimination took place in Toronto on Monday, this time in front of the Toronto Police Service's 55 Division building at the corner of Coxwell and Dundas East.

Residents gathered to protest an incident that took place at the end of June, in which a man and his partner were physically assaulted in what appeared to be a racially-motivated encounter with three unknown attackers.

The community is up in arms over the fact that local police have done little to help Mark Austin and his girlfriend Candace Zinkweg, who were approached, knocked to the ground, kicked, and threatened with death in East York's Dentonia Park on June 25 while they were out walking their dog.

Austin, who is Black, was allegedly "repeatedly subjected to racist abuse" by the white assailants, according to a release issued by the United Steelworks Toronto Area Council, which organized Monday's rally on behalf of the couple. (Austin is a member of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1998).

Zinkweg had her property stolen and suffered a concussion that landed her in hospital.

Protest at the 55 division today from r/toronto

"The police were slow to arrive on the scene, did not seek out a statement from the victim, and when questioned about why they had not laid charges on the assailants, they said 'it's he said, she said,'" the statement reads.

"The police have taken no action. This is a pattern of racist policing which dismisses the obvious evidence and allows racist violence to continue... we won't tolerate members of our community who are victims of racist violence being silenced by racist policing."

Those on the scene demanded that the police take further action and take the case more seriously, especially given the threats of future violence, and the fact that the attackers apparently live in the same building as the victims.

They want police to charge the perpetrators immediately, as well as "publicly apologize for their shocking inaction in the face of a clear case of violent assault, racist abuse and ongoing threats to this couple."

The peaceful demonstration, which was called called Say No to Racist Attacks, started at noon, and saw dozens turn out with signs, banners and chants demanding justice.

The Black Action Defense Committee was among those in attendance for the cause.

The USW is one of countless groups, organizations and individuals that have organized to take a stand against anti-Black racism and racist violence around the globe in recent months as people continue to hold police more accountable for their actions (or in this case, inaction).

Lead photo by

@mlinto


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