TPS board debating recommendations made by jury in Loku inquest
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Thursday, December 14, 2017 4:29PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 14, 2017 4:35PM EST
The Toronto Police Services Board is debating whether or not to implement a trio of recommendations that were made following a coroner’s inquest into the shooting of Andrew Loku.
Loku, 45, was killed shortly after midnight on July 5, 2015 as he wielded a hammer in the third-floor hallway of an apartment building near Caledonia and Rogers roads.
The Special Investigations Unit subsequently ruled that an unnamed officer who fired the fatal shots would not be charged after determining that he “feared for his life, though a coroner’s inquest was eventually ordered to look into how to prevent future deaths.
A total of 39 recommendations were made at the end of June 2017 as a result of that inquest, however many of them concerned training and other matters that do not have to be voted on by the TPS board.
The recommendations that were forwarded to the TPS board for consideration at today’s meeting include the formation of a committee to “consider possible or identified disparities in services and outcomes for racialized persons” and the staging of a pilot study in 14 and 51 Divisions to determine whether more training and education around interactions with people who have “racial, mental health or addiction differences” leads to an overall reduction in use of force incidents.
The third and final recommendation calls for the board to maintain an existing committee that is made up of representatives from the TPS and the mental health community.
Addressing members of the TPS board during today’s meeting, activist Desmond Cole said that the formation of a committee may seem like a sound idea but will be worthless unless it is accompanied by a change in attitude among board members.
Cole also took issue with the fact that no funding has been assigned to the proposed committee as of yet, calling that a reflection of how much priority the board is assigning to it.
“The board hasn’t even acknowledged how reckless those actions were,” he said of the Loku shooting. “Maybe you don’t think that is in your purview but I fundamentally disagree with you. Maybe this poker face that everybody at this table is so good at, maybe that is not serving the community.”
Some of the other recommendations made by the coroner’s inquest include a request to have police measure the effectiveness of training related to "anti-black racism and persons in crisis" through written and oral examinations and a request to have police test officers for implicit racial bias.