Mayor Olivia Chow is being called out for her “deafening” silence in the wake of recent violence against Toronto police and is being urged to publicly voice her support to the officers.
The Toronto Police Association (TPA), which represents thousands of uniformed and civilian members of the service, released a statement earlier this week criticizing the mayor for her lack of public statement condemning the violence.
“Will Mayor Chow offer any words of condolence or support for our members?” The TPA asked in a tweet posted Thursday after citing the two violent incidents faced by officers in the past few days.
The first incident occurred on July 22 in Parkdale, where the driver of a stolen vehicle struck an officer on a bike who was trying to stop him from leaving. The officer was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. Police said the driver and another occupant were later arrested and charged.
The other incident happened on July 25 in Etobicoke. Police attended an apartment to arrest a murder suspect and were met with gunfire. The suspect allegedly shot at the officers as he fled.
With the help of Bingo, a two-year-old German shepherd police dog, the suspect was shortly located. There was an interaction between the suspect and police, which resulted in the dog being fatally shot.
In an interview with Newstalk1010 on Friday, TPA President Jon Reid was asked why he put out the statement.
“I think it’s really important, though, for her to come out as a new mayor and the leader of our city to come out and support the people that you work in her city keeping it safe,” Reid told host Jerry Agar.
He said he was “baffled” by the mayor’s silence.
“I don’t understand why… when one of our officers loses their dog, that dog is like losing their partner, and zero from the mayor. And the mayor wasn’t even there in the morning when the dog was taken off to Guelph for the autopsy,” Reid said, referring to the police procession held for Bingo the day after his death.
“I was quite surprised, especially as a new mayor, you think there’ll be more an effort, quite honestly.”
FILE – Toronto mayor-elect Olivia Chow speaks to media outside City Hall in Toronto, Tuesday, June 27, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Arlyn McAdorey
Reid added that while Chow might have already contacted police Chief Myron Demkiw, officers needed to hear from the mayor that she stands beside them.
“I do not see the issue with our new mayor coming out and supporting the men and women that do this job each and every day,” he said.
“Her silence is deafening, and it’s not going unnoticed.”
When asked to respond to the TPA’s statement, the mayor’s office said Chow sent messages to Demkiw after each incident to send along to the officers involved.
“The mayor is in frequent communication with the Chief of Police. She sincerely hopes that the injured officers recover quickly, and she is grateful for their service,” a statement from the mayor’s office read.
“The mayor recognizes and appreciates the danger police put themselves in each day on behalf of communities across the City. She also expresses her condolences to Sgt. Brandon Smith and to anyone else who knew and loved Bingo.”
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