FORMER CHIEF FANTINO RESPONDS

Below is a letter to Toronto Star from former Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino that the Toronto Star refused to publish as a rebuttal to one of their articles from two weeks ago.

Here is a classic example of why I created the Copfather blog because if we don’t publish this no one does and this very credible and honest response never sees the light of day. Instead, we have some journalists stating a lot of false facts, and basing their arguments and accusations on columns and articles that were just as wrong and flawed seventeen years ago.

So here is the chief setting the story straight to the Toronto Star reporters once again.

Dear Royson:

Although it is not my place to infuse myself into the current issues facing the Toronto Police Service, I do want to wish Peter Sloly the very best in all his future endeavours.

I do, however take issue with your inaccurate reference; “earlier Sloly, Forde and two other senior officers (Dave McLeod and Carl Davis) had gone to then-chief Julian Fantino to refute Fantino’s public stance that ‘racial profiling’ didn’t exist among Toronto police officers.  Fantino stiffened.  Other black officers recoiled, fearing they would risk their career.”  An assertion that is simply not true.

If you were to be fair and accurate you would have also reported that my response about racial profiling flowed in the context of the accusations made by your paper that the Toronto Police Service as a whole and by consequence all police officers, engaged in the practice of “SYSTEMIC RACIAL PROFILING” – which as you know was the allegation made following the Star’s bungled analysis of data of Toronto police officer’s contacts with citizens over a specific span of time.

You should also know that the very same data was analyzed by a team of world renowned experts who concluded the data actually supported two findings:  1) Toronto police officers were in fact profiling drunk drivers, and 2) enforcing offences (drugs, prostitution, etc.,) associated with diminished quality of life in the city’s neighbourhoods mostly initiated from citizen’s complaints.  No factual evidence of systemic racial profiling was uncovered.  Had you been fair and balanced in your reporting of this passage of my time as Toronto police chief, you would have also told your readers that the analysis carried out by the Star was scientifically proven to be the result of an exercise worthy of “AN ACADEMY AWARD IN JUNK SCIENCE.”

For the record, one more time to the deaf ears at the Star, my denial was not that some police officers didn’t engage in racial profiling – my denial was specific to the unproven and false allegation that Toronto police officers as a whole engaged in systemic racial profiling.

Finally, you are again wrong when you cast me in the role of a villain about my response to issues of community/police racial tensions, however and whatever information has been fed to you by whoever, including the black officers you name, that too can only be treated as a run to smear; the named officers never presented their issues/concerns to me in the context you framed them. In fact, as I recall, a couple of them were promoted on my watch.  So much for me having stiffened!

I learned a long time ago that the substance of what “some” media entities choose to report is reflective of its editorial policy and that the truth is often left languishing on the editorial room floor; such as you have done here.

With best regards.

Julian Fantino

READ NEWS ARTICLE