regis korchinski-paquet

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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."

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. 

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.

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.

"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."

Lead photo by

Kevin Frankish

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