Mayor John Tory said an investigation into Toronto Police actions to clean up homeless settlements in city parks this summer would be “grossly inappropriate.”
Tory made the comments Friday morning ahead of a city council meeting in which Councilors Josh Matlow and Mike Layton will bring forward a motion for an investigation into the role of police in cleanups, which has resulted in violent clashes between officers and lawyers , and numerous arrests.
âI think the traditional investigation is a totally inappropriate thing to do here. It suggests wrongdoing on the part of our hard-working public servants, including the police for that matter, âTory told CP24.
Throughout the summer, the city sent several security officials, decree officials and police to dismantle homeless camps in parks after issuing trespassing notices.
Camps have been dismantled in several parks, including Trinity-Bellwoods Park, Alexandra Park and Lamport Stadium Park.
Tory called the motion a “publicity stunt” from councilors that could cost millions of dollars.
“… I don’t think it pushes anything forward an inch, it doesn’t get anyone to get housing faster, it doesn’t help anyone with anything, it’s just a publicity stunt and some people want to spend their time doing that, “he said.
Advisers argue the investigation is needed to investigate the police use of force and violence against homeless people and their lawyers during cleanups, and the decision to ban and arrest journalists from cover cleanings.
They say the survey could also provide recommendations to ensure that a human rights approach is prioritized when engaging with camp residents and other homeless people.
âThe Toronto encampment was violent, inhumane and ineffective, simply pushing vulnerable people from one park to another, or from an alley or under a bridge. We at City Council are calling for a judicial inquiry so that this approach is never repeated, âMatlow tweeted last week.
The councilors’ motion comes after Toronto’s ombudsman announced earlier this week that he would conduct an investigation into how the city has handled the cleanup of homeless settlements.
However, the ombudsman will not review the conduct of the police, as this is beyond the mandate of the ombudsman in Toronto.
âAn ombudsman investigation is welcome, but the bigger issue here is the violence in the enforcement of trespass orders which many have witnessed and shared around the world. Everyone involved must be held accountable, âLayton tweeted earlier this week.
The city council will meet today at 9:30 a.m.