No More Endless Apologies: Defund and Abolish the Toronto Police
June 15, 2022 - What would it take to prevent the next apology? The Toronto Police Service says it is sorry for years of violence against Black people, but so many of us have moved on. We have not asked the police for anything, including today’s apology. Instead, we continue to demand political change that eliminates the need for the next apology.
Black people in Toronto have lost our lives, our health, and our spirits fighting the violence police are only now beginning to acknowledge. Our bodies and our testimonies are the evidence politicians have refused to honour. Mayor John Tory, who has overseen the carnage during his eight years on the police board, and Toronto City Council, have refused to listen to us. Even the reports that prompted today’s apology come directly from the police, as politicians chase the fantasy that cops can and will hold themselves accountable.
The police are a major obstacle to our freedom. Every new opportunity given to them is a gamble with Black life and safety. Even as the police apologize to Black people, they are attacking unhoused Black and Indigenous people in parks, criminalizing queer, trans, and Two-Spirit people, evicting tenants who can’t pay the rent, jailing sex workers, stalking students on playgrounds and campuses, and arresting people demonstrating in the streets. Tory and City Council are choosing to fund, direct, and justify all this violence.
Only a political intervention can prevent the next apology. City Council has heard the demand from Black people, and from many others, to defund and ultimately abolish the Toronto Police Service, and redistribute its budgets to fund housing, food, public transit, and other life-giving supports. We will never stop fighting until Council honours this central demand and many others that accompany it.
As No Pride In Policing Coalition marks Pride Month, we will be gathering on Sunday June 26, 2022 at 11am at Nathan Philips Square to celebrate our struggle and advance our demands. We will continue to build a mass movement of all those harmed by Toronto police, and of all people who believe in freedom from police surveillance and control. We remember and honour those killed by police, and those who have survived criminalization and violence. With love and determination, we will build the political will that is lacking in Toronto’s political class.