TORONTO — New statistics released by Toronto police show Black people faced a disproportionate amount of police enforcement and use of force in 2020 and were more likely to have an officer point a gun at them — whether perceived as armed or unarmed — than white people in the same situation.
Middle Eastern people were also overrepresented when it came to enforcement and use of force, while other groups — such as Latino and East and Southeast Asian residents — experienced less enforcement in comparison to their representation in the population but saw more use of force when they did interact with police.
Indigenous people faced more enforcement, but proportionately slightly less use of force in those interactions, according to the data.
White people faced proportionately less enforcement and less use of force.
The statistics also show that racial differences in use of force remained even after taking into account what police were initially called to investigate and what the main offence turned out to be.
Indigenous, Black and white people also were also strip searched disproportionately compared with how many of them were arrested.
The provincial government began collecting race-based data related to use of force from police services in 2020, three years after passing legislation that required several public sectors to collect data on race.
In the fall of 2019, the Toronto Police Services Board approved a policy on race-based data that would start with use of force and later extend to other police processes such as stops, searches, questioning and the laying of charges.
At the time, the board said the data would not be used to identify specific officers or manage their performance, but to “identify trends that contribute to professional development and organizational change.”