Toronto restaurant owner fears harassment over police protest sign
A Toronto restaurant owner says she fears for her safety after receiving threats and spotting people filming her outside her Bloor Street store.
Bloordale take-out lunch restaurant, Foodbenders, has posted what they say is evidence of bizarre video encounters and threats on their Instagram feed.
The owner, who doesn’t want her name mentioned in this article, said the harassment started after she wrote a “F*ck the Police” sandwich board sign outside her restaurant. The sign is a political statement about policing as a racist institution, she said.
“It (the sign) was put out there during the day of the (anti-racism) protest and that same day officers started trolling me and started coming around, lingering in front of the store,” the owner told blogTO.
She believes people are being encouraged to protest by a few individual Toronto police officers. One Toronto police officer posted a story about the restaurant in his Facebook feed and responded to a comment, “Head on a swivel. Stay the course,” with “No question. On both counts.”
Toronto Police Service communications officer Connie Osborne said they would not comment on the issue and encouraged the “ business to report any concerns they have to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director which is responsible for overseeing all public complaints about municipal, regional and provincial police in Ontario.”
Foodbenders has posted a few of the comments they have received.
“You are disgusting!!!! Please don’t ever call the police for anything,” someone wrote in a message, adding that she should remove the sign from the sidewalk.
People who justify police killing black people also justify 50+ year old men preying on teenage POC girls and calling them little pussies. You can find Emilie on Facebook. If words are so harmless, why so much fuss about a little sign @torontopolice? Truly sad little people down at division 11.
“You people are racist, go back to your country,” another comment reads.
In one video encounter, a man is standing outside Foodbenders holding a poster of a blue police shield with a Canadian flag in the middle and the words “Support Police.” When asked why he is outside Foodbenders, the man says, “I am a supporter of the police.”
Bloordale, This is too much now. This man waited for me to leave and pull the sign inside, while multiple cop cars on all sides of the street watched to protect him. Once I was gone he went after my kid in the store and said: “So you brought the sign in you pussy” Samar is 17 years old. Pick on someone your own size and race. Leave black children alone! #fuckcops #defundthecops #ftp @torontopolice #bloordale #toronto #coplovers #bluelivesmurder
In another video a man is sitting across the street on a motorcycle filming her.
@Torontopolice Men with bikes are lingering around taking photos and videos of me and the store again. Why are they collecting information on me. Is this another one of your neo nazi supporters? I am starting to seriously fear for my life. You need to act! I am grieving today, knock it off.
Foodbenders owner said she has called the police a few times but fears the officers are the ones encouraging the harassment.
“It’s really deep and scary,” she said. “These people are hunting me now.”
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