CRRF Supports Call for Investigation into Racism's Role
''The racist comments on these tapes has brought the tragic events of the Ipperwash standoff to the forefront once again, and a thorough investigation of all the events, decisions and attitudes that resulted in the killing of Dudley George is necessary,'' said Dr. Karen Mock, Executive Director of the CRRF. ''For years the former provincial government stonewalled on this case, and subverted the public's right to know what happened and why. While these tapes provide concrete evidence of racist attitudes and behaviours of some officers who were involved, a thorough inquiry will show us to what extent this kind of dehumanization played a part in the decisions that were made. We are encouraged that the present government has promised a full public inquiry and urge that it begin immediately.''
While the CRRF acknowledged that apologies were made and that disciplinary measures were taken on this and other cases (e.g. a few years ago when OPP officers were subjected to investigation and discipline for circulating offensive racist material by e-mail) it emphasized that more effective tools are necessary than presently exist address racism and racial profiling in police services in general.
Dr. Mock also acknowledged that the Ontario Provincial Police was the one service that outlined specific changes to address the issue of racial profiling at the ''summit'' meeting which the CRRF hosted following the Toronto Star's racial profiling reports in October 2002. The reports concluded that African Canadians in particular were treated differently by police and other areas of the criminal justice system.
''But the continued revelation of events at Ipperwash contributes to growing distrust of police among racialized minorities,'' said Dr. Mock. ''A thorough and public investigation is the only way we can learn fully from past mistakes and implement effective measures to prevent and counter racism. It is important that police services work together with communities to achieve this goal.'' The CRRF has offered its services to senior officials in the OPP to evaluate their existing policies and anti-racism/diversity training programs with a view to enhancing them where appropriate.