Implicit bias and anti-black racism the core of Andrew Loku inquest findings –

The jury that crafted the 39 recommendations coming out of the inquest into the police shooting death of Andrew Lokuin 2015made it clear that racial biasisprevalent across society and needs to be addressed.

“Racismpermeatesthe society and they recognized that,” Kingsley Gilliam, one of the founding members of the Black Action Defence Committee, said outside the court building Friday.

Loku, 45, was holding a hammer and walking towardpolice when he was shot and killed by Const.Andrew Doyle on July 5, 2015.

Doyle and his partner, Const.Haim Queroub, were responding to a call abouta man with a hammer threatening to kill someone.

The interaction between the police officers and Loku lasted some 21 seconds before Loku was shot twice.

At least 17 of the recommendationsdeal with recognizing and addressing implicit bias and anti-black racism, including:

Loku was originally from South Sudan and the jury heard testimony that he suffered from PTSD.

His death sparked protests by the group Black Lives Matter.

Outside courtFriday, Gilliam said it was”inspiring” that anti-black racism was acknowledged in the recommendations as a problem.

Kingsley Gilliam, founding member of the Black Action Defence Committee, was pleased with the jury’s recommendations and said they recognized “anti-black racism, racism and institutional racism are problems.”

Gilliamhascalled on the “Toronto Police Services, the Toronto PoliceServices Board, the Ministryof Community Safety and Correctional Services and the Ministry of Health to take very specific actions to address these issues andwe are going to hold their feet to the fire.”

He is threatening legal action if all therecommendations are not implemented within a year.

Lawyer SelwynPieters,also with the BADC,said: “We are on the cusp of real change, because that change has to happen or else.”

FemiOtitoju, the founder and training director for ChallengeConsultancy, educates people about how to recognize and address their own unconscious biases and the dangers of acting on them.

She has worked with governments, police services in the United Kingdomand media outlets, including the CBC.

“If you have a brain, you have a bias,”Otitojusaid.

Implicit or unconscious bias may be formed by personal experiences, but they also come from our educators, people who raise us and the media,Otitojusaid.

“There tends to be an emphasis on, a focus on black people as the perpetrators of crime and in particular black men as the perpetrators of violent crime,” she said.

That then feeds animplicit association ineveryone, “including our law enforcement officers,”Otitojuadded.

In a sit-down interview with CBC Toronto before the recommendations were released, Toronto police Deputy Chief Michael Federico discussed implicit bias saying:”It’s a societal issue and we recruit from society.”

Deputy Chief Michael Federico on crisis communications training4:44

He said that Toronto police “have recognized that implicit bias may detrimentally affect an officer’s decision.”

He said the service is taking steps to mitigate against it with “fair and impartial policing.”

That includes formal training around recognizing and responding to implicit bias and sensitivity training, “so that we become more informed about circumstances that people live in and the type of people we police,”Federicosaid.

Several of the recommendations also addressed the need for morede-escalationtraining and followup.

“Andrew could still be here today if the police had simply followed the minimum type of training that they received,” lawyer Howard Morton said.

Doyle and Queroubtestified at the inquestthat they were both shouting demands at Loku to drop the hammer and that he ignored those demands.

Const. Andrew Doyle is seen on June 14, 2017, the day he testified at the coroner’s inquest into the death of Andrew Loku. (Tina MacKenzie/CBC News)

One of the recommendations isto “emphasize”to officers in that type of situation to use “alternative methods of communication, de-escalation, disengagementand containment.”

The jury alsocalled for annual and regular training that includes negotiation, de-escalation and crisis communication.The jury’s recommendations also callfor the training of officers to include “trauma informed approaches.”

AseefaSarang, executive director of Across Boundaries, which provides mental health services for people from racializedcommunities and where Loku was a client, said: “I’m actually feeling like his death was hopefully not in vain.”

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Implicit bias and anti-black racism the core of Andrew Loku inquest findings –

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July 1, 2017   Posted in: Black Racism |

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