Newsstand: April 22, 2016
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Newsstand: April 22, 2016

This morning's news involves police being terrible in many, many ways: the RCMP wants to compel two men to stay in the country despite not having charged them with anything; police need to stop killing people with mental illness; and police should maybe also not write themselves up for disciplinary purposes, while Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie wants to take the city out of Peel Region.

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In the continuing fight against terrorism (™), pre-crime is back in style. Two Canadian residents were detained in Turkey for allegedly attempting to enter the Syrian conflict zone; they were sent back to Toronto, where they were arrested but still have not been charged with anything. Nevertheless, RCMP are seeking to impose peace bonds on both of them that would severely restrict their movement. It’s a tactic law enforcement has used more frequently since the then-Conservative federal government made it easier last year. Peace bonds can restrict not only physical movement but even internet access.

Another investigation into the death of a person with mental illness who was killed by police is underway: this time, an inquest regarding Ian Pryce’s 2013 killing. Another call for police to use tactics other than shouting and pointing guns: this time, to involve trained professionals immediately when dealing with someone in a mental health crisis. Yet after Michael Eligon, Sammy Yatim, Pryce, and many others, Andrew Loku was still killed mere seconds after police arrived on the scene in July 2015. So, another set of recommendations that may or may not stop people (mostly people of colour) with mental illness from being killed by Toronto police.

Similarly galling, and perhaps even more indicative of the overriding temptation to allow police to conduct themselves however they see fit, Toronto police officers are the only outfit in the GTA who write up discipline reportson themselves. A request from police watchdog group the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition to have a new process instated was rejected Wednesday by the Toronto Police Services Board, in part because the information in those reports is factual and has led to no complaints from the Crown Prosecutor, according to acting deputy chief Rick Stubbings. But as city councillor and board member Shelley Carroll (Ward 33, Don Valley East) noted, who’s to say if the information is factual or what the prosecutor would complain about when the only information they (and we) have access to comes from one source?

Maybe Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie is feeling the incredible size of the shoes she needs to fill, having replaced Hazel McCallion after the latter’s 36-year turn in the big seat. Whatever the reason, Crombie has floated the idea of holding a referendum in 2018 on Mississauga separating from Peel Region to become its own municipality. About half her constituents support the idea, but politicians in Brampton are outraged, charging that their city supported Mississauga during its recent growth and that Mississauga now needs to do the same for Brampton’s come-up. It’s likely that Brampton, Caledon, and the provincial government would need to co-sign any such move.

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