Toronto Police accused of double standard following Regis Korchinski-Paquet rally
People in Toronto are calling out the local police service for unfairly targeting those who attended the Regis Korchinski-Paquet memorial rally on Monday while consistently giving anti-lockdown and anti-vax protestors a free pass.
The rally, which began on the grounds of Queen's Park on May 24, saw hundreds of protestors gather in honour of Korchinski-Paquet, who died on May 27, 2020 after falling from her apartment balcony during an encounter with Toronto Police.
ONE YEAR LATER, STILL NO JUSTICE. #JUSTICEFORREGIS Memorial March - MAY 24th @ 1pm beginning at Queen’s Park, TORONTO. Share far and wide! This fight is not over!— Notanotherblacklife (@notanotherblk) May 18, 2021
Calling the police should not be a death sentence.
Toronto police have blood on their hands. #DefundThePolice pic.twitter.com/UpC4PwgoWe
Ontario's Special Investigations Unit has since cleared all five police officers involved of wrongdoing in her death, but protestors on Monday denounced the unit's investigation and called for justice.
Following a memorial and news conference at Queen's Park, protestors marched down Yonge Street to Gerrard Avenue East, which is when things began to go south.
We are holding space at Yonge and Gerrard. The police are surrounding the crowd and not letting the #JusticeForRegis March continue on.— Brian Chang (@bfchangTO) May 24, 2021
So contrary to what Police have been saying for months, they are fully able to stop anti-vaxxers, they just don't want to. #DefundThePolice pic.twitter.com/0qWABbKKih
Photos and videos posted to social media show tense stand-offs between police and protesters, and demonstrators allege that police officers attempted to intimidate those participating in the march.
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Toronto says police acted with aggression from the start, didn't let marshals do their jobs and kept picking up people's bikes up and moving them.
@TorontoPolice— SURJ Toronto - Defund Toronto Police (@SURJto) May 24, 2021
have escorted anti-maskers down entire streets over the pandemic.
Our marshalls are reporting that two marshalls were thrown off their bikes and arrested (now in paddy wagon) for moving into intersection doing traffic control.#ToPoli #DefundTorontoPolice https://t.co/GLv4OcitUb
At least one protestor was also arrested during the march, but a demonstrator was later seen being released from a police vehicle following a sit-in from protestors who refused to leave until the participant was let go.
Update- She was released bc people demanded it and refused to leave. But shame on the Toronto police for arresting organizers and re-traumatizing folks grieving at a family-led memorial march. Thanks @notanotherblk and #justiceforregis always. https://t.co/DxhiApurOD— Robyn Maynard (@policingblack) May 24, 2021
Police also posted a statement on Twitter Monday asking residents to refrain from participating in large protests, adding that "just because someone is not issued a charge at the time does not mean that they cannot be laid at a later date."
where's this energy for the anti-maskers?— wendy 🧡 (@meranyaizer) May 24, 2021
But while police showed up in full force for Monday's rally, the same can't be said for an anti-vaccination protest that broke out outside the pop-up vaccine clinic at city hall this weekend.
Now that I’ve cleared my head, it occurs to me that I just got ASSAULTED outside of a pop up mass VACCINATION CLINIC directly outside Toronto City Hall @npstoronto by Covid-denying #antimaskers and #antivaxxers.— Caryma Sa'd - Lawyer (@CarymaRules) May 23, 2021
On the whole, I would say @TorontoPolice dropped the ball. pic.twitter.com/3EvkOLaCwV
Protestors held signs and spouted misinformation at vaccine-seekers as residents lined up to receive their shot on Sunday, with some even directly addressing children at one point and telling them not to listen to their parents.
Following this chant, the #antimask #antivaxx protestors began directly addressing the children in line:— Caryma Sa'd - Lawyer (@CarymaRules) May 23, 2021
“Don’t listen to your parents! They are aren’t keeping you safe!”
Which is a weird message, considering their previous stance was emphasizing parental consent. pic.twitter.com/4FaSrnzZkd
But as protestors harassed those exercising their right to access healthcare amid a global pandemic, police took a much more low-key approach — a fact that was not lost on those who showed up to call for justice for Korchinski-Paquet on Monday and received very different treatment.
Tense stand-off between police and protesters Gerrard & Yonge. Police forced to release three taken into custody after prisoner van surrounded. pic.twitter.com/XrVotOQkOW— Kevin Frankish (@KevinFrankish) May 24, 2021
"The hypocrisy of the police who did nothing yesterday while anti-vaxxers went after kids at City Hall," wrote NDP candidate Brian Chang on Twitter.
"But the horses are in full action today. Trying to stop the march for #JusticeForRegis SHAME."
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