Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown are pushing for Peel Regional Police officers to wear body cameras in a bid to increase transparency within the region’s police service.
Peel police patrol both Brampton and Mississauga.
Crombie opened both a June 3 city council meeting and press conference with some words about the ongoing (and sometimes violent) protests in the United States that are being held in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for up to nine minutes during an incident in Minneapolis.
“I’ve been watching what’s been happening south of the border. [There’s] pent up anger, frustration and fear of a system that permits far too much discrimination and death. We are far from blameless,” Crombie said, adding that Canadians should not look on with smugness, but look at work that needs to be done in Canada and Mississauga.
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“We need to address the systemic racism full stop. Only when Black lives matter will all lives matter.”
At the press conference, Crombie announced that she and Brown plan to move a motion to explore the use of body cameras at the June 26 Peel Police Service Board meeting.
Crombie said that Peel police Chief Nishan Duraiappah supports the move.
“This will increase transparency and trust. They will not fix all problems, but they’re one tool that can help fight systemic racism,” Crombie said.
On June 2, Duraiappah addressed Floyd’s death and systemic racism in a letter posted on social media.
“As the profoundly troubling events in the United States continue to unfold, we acknowledge that anti-Black racism exists in Canda as well. The death of George Floyd is both a disturbing crime and truly heartbreaking, and it has shaken all of us at Peel Regional Police,” Duraiappah wrote.
“Accountability is my personal commitment to all of you, and it must continue to be the cornerstone of ethical policing. The difficult conversations that follow in these trying times are necessary. Systemic change, and our commitment to community safety and well-being, can only be achieved through sincere engagement with our communities and by being fully transparent to those we serve.”
Crombie said the region will be partnering with community organizations to host series of meetings focused on listening to the voices of the Black community and hearing their suggestions on fighting anti-Black racism in Peel.
She said she and Brown will present the feedback and suggestions to the police board.
“This work will commence in weeks and months to come,” Crombie told reporters.
Police are not currently required to wear body cameras in Peel.