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Implement DADT at the Toronto Police Board

Nov/20/2008 - 1:30 pm

Campaign Calls on Chief of Police to IMPLEMENT a REAL AND FULL DADT POLICY

Pack the Board meeting and give a deputation (present your arguments for a full Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy). We are also asking people to send letters to the Board, a sample letter can be found at the end of this email, please cc all letters to nooneisillegal@riseup.net.

Thursday November 20th, 1:30pm
Toronto Police Services Board Meeting
Police Headquarters 40 College Street, Just West of Yonge Street

The Don't Ask, Don't Tell campaign is calling all allies, social service providers and immigrant/refugee communities to mobilize by packing the Toronto Police Services Board meeting to show our sincere concerns about the lack of a true Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy by the Toronto Police.

On February 15th 2006, the Toronto Police Services Board passed a limited "Don't Ask" policy which stated that Toronto Police would be barred from asking the immigration status of "witnesses and victims of a crime" without a “bonafide reason”. In the spring of 2008, the Immigration Legal Committee of No One Is Illegal and the Law Union of Ontario presented a legal opinion as to why the Police needed to adopt a full don’t ask don’t tell policy.

Unfortunately, under the current policy, many people without status have been misled into thinking that they can now access police services without fear. But they cannot. As it stands, the Board and the Police Services are taking credit for a weak policy passed on paper.

The legal opinion has this to say about the current policy:

A “Don’t Ask” policy alone does not make police services accessible to Torontonians without legal immigration status. For instance, persons working with non-status domestic violence survivors have indicated that police officers rarely learn of their clients’ immigration status by asking about it directly. Rather, a person’s immigration status comes to police attention when police request identification documents or when abusive spouses report the status of their victims to police officers.

The existing policy directs police to "not ask" about status - for some people, some of the time - but police are still allowed to "tell" immigration authorities about someone's status when they find out. Police usually find out about status in some way, whether through checking ID, manipulative disclosure from an abusive partner, or trusting (or fearful) disclosure from a non-status person themselves."

As well, research by the committee showed that immigration status often plays into racial profiling by the police: either the police use status as an excuse to harass people of colour, or they use it as a way to justify police stops that are based on the person’s race.

Toronto needs a full Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. Our communities deserve a full Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. As part of the ongoing campaign for full and accessible regularization for all non status people, and as part of an ongoing campaign for a full access without fear for all non status people in Toronto, No One Is Illegal is mobilizing to demand a full Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy by the Toronto Police. Join us on November 20th at 1:30pm at the Toronto Police Services Board and show that our communities are united in demanding Access without Fear.

For more information, or if you can make a deputation, please contact:
nooneisillegal@riseup.net or smack@tao.ca or call 416-999-6885.

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