Aug 16, 2023
By Jane Brown
An anti-racism scholar says it’s about time a class action lawsuit has been launched over the historic use of carding by the Toronto Police Service.
Beverley Bain is co-chair of the No Pride in Policing Coalition and says the practice of randomly stopping people based on race and collecting their information continues to harm marginalized communities.
“Young black people, women, black and indigenous and rationalized people in particular are carded constantly daily, even though we know carding according to the law, no longer exists, but that isn’t true. The practice continues,” claims Bain.
The lawsuit is led by plaintiff Ayan Farah, a 38 year old Somali-Canadian with no criminal record, on behalf of all black and indigenous people who’ve been stopped by Toronto Police or had their information collected without reason since 2011.
A statement of claim says she was sitting in public in 2011 when she was detained by Toronto Police officers who allegedly recorded her personal information without providing a reason.
It goes on to say the interaction led Farah to lose her security clearance in 2014 at Toronto Pearson Airport where she had worked since 2006.
Eventually the security clearance was revoked by Transport Canada.
But the lawsuit alleges the incident and its consequences led her to become isolated and develop depression, paranoia and hyper-vigilance in public.
Toronto Police and Toronto Police Services Board said they are reviewing the statement of claim, but will not be commenting on the case as the matter is before the course.