Two woman allege a Toronto bylaw officer racially profiled them during a visit to a city park Tuesday.
The women, who are Black, said the incident occurred at Centennial Park after they went there for a routine workout.
They said when they arrived, they entered an area of the park through an open gate and there were other people present, including two teens playing soccer and others running on the track.
However, they said when they attempted to leave, the gate was locked.
“So we decided we were going to jump over to get to the other side,” said Eva, who didn’t provide her last name.
Eva, who was with her friend Deborah, said that’s when a bylaw officer approached them.
“He goes, ‘If this was my home, I would be licensed to … shoot both of you guys right now.’ And when he said that, I couldn’t believe it at first. I was kind of shocked,” Eva said.
The friends said the bylaw officer then proceeded to ask for identification, but didn’t ask for I.D. from two other individuals who were in the same situation as them.
“What he did wasn’t right,” said Deborah, who didn’t provide her last name.
“Mentally, this has put a lot on us.”
Video showing the women speaking to the bylaw officer was posted on social media and has been viewed thousands of times.
In the video, two others were asked whether the officer requested their ID, to which they responded, “no.”
Throughout the clip, the bylaw officer denies the allegations being made against him.
A statement from the City of Toronto said in an update the incident is under investigation by a third-party. Before City officials said the investigation was being let by the municipal licensing and standards division with the confronting anti-Black racism unit as well as the people and equity unit un.
Toronto Mayor John Tory also commented on the incident.
“No bylaw officer should ever threaten or even suggest violence,” Tory said on Twitter.
“While we await the results of this investigation, I want to be clear that as Mayor I will not tolerate any City of Toronto employees engaging in behaviour that threatens residents or demonstrates anti-Black racism.”
— With files from Matthew Bingley
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