June 12, 2020

National Newswatch – Canadian Press
Freeland says police must acknowledge racism, advocates call for action

Is there or isn’t there?  Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister thinks there is.  But despite our history of colonialism, our MMIWG reports, our Truth and Reconciliation Commission, our oil sands policing, our history of mistreatment of Asian immigrants, our wartime mistreatment of Japanese Canadians, our turning away of boats with Jewish refugees from Nazism, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki and the Commanding Officer of RCMP Alberta Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki do not believe there is systemic racism in the RCMP.  “But he did say that racism is “prevalent” in all aspects of society, including in police services.”  Calgary police Chief Mark Neufeld did not think there is systemic racism in policing but now is not so sure.  This is surely a strange platform for Canada’s policing to stand on.  https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2020/06/10/freeland-says-police-must-acknowledge-racism-after-senior-rcmp-officers-denial-3/#.XuJEcOd7k2x  Related article: Toronto Star – Brandi Morin   RCMP deputy commissioner’s words on racism fly in face of 150 years of history and pain for Indigenous Peoples  https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2020/06/11/rcmp-deputy-commissioners-words-on-racism-fly-in-face-of-150-years-of-history-and-pain-for-indigenous-peoples.html    Related article:  Globe and Mail: Daniel Leblanc and Kristy Kirkup  RCMP commissioner ‘struggles’ with definition of systemic racism, but denies its presence in organization  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-systemic-racism-not-present-in-rcmp-commissioner-says-though-some/   Related article:  Globe and Mail – Daniel Leblanc and Kristy Kirkup   RCMP commissioner ‘struggles’ with definition of systemic racism, but denies its presence in organization  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-systemic-racism-not-present-in-rcmp-commissioner-says-though-some/?cmpid=rss&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter   Related article:  The Star – Michael Tutton  Halifax rejects armoured-vehicle purchase for police, shifts money to anti-racism initiatives  https://www.thestar.com/amp/news/canada/2020/06/09/halifax-rejects-armoured-vehicle-purchase-for-police-shifts-money-to-anti-racism.html?__twitter_impression=true   Related article: City News (Toronto) Almost two-thirds of Canadians believe systemic racism exists in the country: poll  https://toronto.citynews.ca/2020/06/11/racism-discrimination-canada-poll/   Related article: Hill Times (Canada) Samantha Wright Allen   Black communities need more than ‘Band-Aid’ funding, say advocates   https://www.hilltimes.com/2020/06/10/black-communities-need-more-than-band-aid-funding-say-advocates/251974  Related article: CBC News – Catharine Tunney and Rosemary Barton  RCMP commissioner vows to review use of controversial neck hold restraint – As protests against police brutality continue, Lucki acknowledges ‘unconscious bias’ in the RCMP   https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/brenda-luck-george-floyd-racism-1.5604458   Related article: Toronto Star – Noa Mendelsohn Aviv   The hard truth about Regis Korchinski-Paquet   https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2020/06/09/the-hard-truth-about-regis-korchinski-paquet.html?source=newsletter&utm_content=a03&utm_source=ts_nl&utm_medium=email&utm_email=404CAADEF7EB839FC77B1B04F0C251E1&utm_campaign=top_26158   Related article: Toronto Star – Rosie DiManno  Why is it so hard to get rid of bad apples in police departments?  https://www.thestar.com/opinion/star-columnists/2020/06/10/why-is-it-so-hard-to-get-rid-of-bad-apples-in-police-departments.html

Fast Company (US) – Talib Visram
This program sends a social worker on 911 calls about mental health – A pilot program in Dallas found a better way of helping people who call 911 for mental health emergencies than simply putting them in jail or dropping them off at the ER.

The issue confronted here is the 911 call which typically dispatches police and results in an arrest, often to enable hospitalization.  This pilot program has an initial determination if the reason for the 911 call is mental health, and if so dispatches mental health professionals with police.  “The program, called the RIGHT (Rapid Integrated Group Healthcare Team) Care program, diverts emergency 911 calls that are evidently mental health-related from the police to social workers and paramedics…. the “mobile mental healthcare unit” of three responders is sent to the scene to respond accordingly. The police officer is on scene for safety purposes, and the paramedic to check for physical injuries. But the scene is the social worker’s jurisdiction, and they decide the best form of treatment.”   https://www.fastcompany.com/90514022/this-program-sends-a-social-worker-on-911-calls-about-mental-health   Related article:  Fast Company – These posters can help you picture alternatives to policing – What would the world look like if we had other people perform the tasks we ask police to perform now? Here are some examples.   https://www.fastcompany.com/90514184/these-posters-help-you-picture-alternatives-to-policing  (A series of nine posters with scenarios and outcomes for a different kind of policing.)  Related article: CTV News – Brooklyn Neustaeter   What defunding the police could look like in Canada’s largest city   https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/what-defunding-the-police-could-look-like-in-canada-s-largest-city-1.4977969   Related article: CBC News – Mark Gallom   Calls to defund the police gain traction with some Canadian policymakers. But what does it mean? Proposals range from police budget cuts to a complete dismantling of police forces  https://www.cbc.ca/news/defund-the-police-canada-1.5605430   Related article: NBC News – Jon Schuppe   What would it mean to ‘defund the police’? These cities offer ideas – Programs in Dallas, Milwaukee and Salinas, California, have drawn the attention of activists seeking to end law enforcement’s systemic abuse of black Americans.  https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/what-would-it-mean-defund-police-these-cities-offer-ideas-n1229266   Related article: KUOW (Seattle) – Liz Brazile   Protesters fill City Hall amid calls to cut Seattle Police funding in half  https://www.kuow.org/stories/sawant-protesters-fill-city-hall-following-capitol-hill-rally

 New York Times (US) – Mara Gay
Good Riddance to One of America’s Strongest Police Secrecy Laws – In New York and elsewhere, street demonstrations are leading to police reform.

50a, a state secrecy law, is on the target list of items to be repealed in New York state.  It guarantees the secrecy of personnel files, offences and charges in the records of the individual police officer.  The decision reverses a long a source of annoyance to advocates who want to know the previous personnel history of offenders as well as transfer history of individual officers. The repeal will mark a needed change so police abuse and accountability can be transparent. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/09/opinion/repeal-50a-ny-police.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage   Related article: N.Y. Times – Free Food, Free Speech and Free of Police: Inside Seattle’s ‘Autonomous Zone’ – President Trump challenged Seattle’s mayor to “take back your city” after police vacated a precinct and protesters laid claim to the neighborhood around it.   https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/11/us/seattle-autonomous-zone.html   Related article: Washington Post – Mike Baker   There’s overwhelming evidence that the criminal-justice system is racist. Here’s the proof.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/opinions/systemic-racism-police-evidence-criminal-justice-system/?itid=hp_save-opinions-float-right-4-0_opinion-card-c-right%3Ahomepage%2Fstory-ans   (The link, an updated article from 2018, offers links to articles on a variety of realities demonstrating the point.)

Dalhousie University – Schulich School of Law

Dalhousie officially launches first ever International Restorative Justice Lab

“The Restorative Research, Innovation & Education Lab (RRIELab), located in the Schulich School of Law, will be led by a fully funded chair held by Professor Jennifer Llewelyn, a distinguished global leader in restorative justice… The need for restorative justice is not new, indeed systemic and historical injustices mark the experience of marginalized and racialized communities around the world,” says Prof. Llewellyn, who is also the Yogis and Keddy Chair in Human Rights Law at the Schulich School of Law.”  Professor Llewelyn is also a director for Smart Justice Network.  https://www.dal.ca/news/2020/06/10/dalhousie-officially-launches-first-ever-international-restorati.html