Statement on racist police violence and serophobia

CW: anti-Black violence, police violence

Many of you will have seen a highly disturbing video shot in downtown Toronto, released this morning, January 24th, 2017. It depicts Toronto Police officers kicking and tasering a Black man who is restrained and not resisting arrest. Several officers then attempt to intimidate the person recording the video. One of these officers tells the witness, “He’s going to spit in your face, you’re going to get AIDS.”

These are the Toronto Police. These are the same Toronto Police who killed Sammy Yatim, Andrew Loku and Jermaine Carby. These are the same Toronto Police who illegally card and harass Black, Indigenous and other Torontonian People of Colour. The same Toronto Police that continue to disregard violence against trans women, people living with HIV/AIDS, and sex workers in our communities. The same Toronto Police who recently enacted an undercover sting targeting men who have sex with men in Marie Curtis Park.

As queers working to end racist and homophobic policing, and who stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter TO and other groups working towards police accountability, we are horrified and deeply saddened by the violence that police continue to enact against Toronto’s most marginalized communities. The beating, tasering and comments made during this video are extremely disturbing. However, they aren’t surprising — they are systemic and ongoing. How many other interactions like this happen which are not caught on camera?

Toronto Police Services and the officers involved must be held accountable for this incident, and for their ongoing violent, ugly, despicable behavior and targeting of racialized, queer, and poor people. We demand justice.

Queers Crash the Beat