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Neighbourhood discussion about police press release ( 10 e-mails)

September 22, 2009
Michael Monastyrskyj wrote:

Mugging near the park.

From: <14division@www.torontopolice.on.ca>

Community Alert

Toronto Police Service

Robbery (Mugging) - 14 Division

A 14 year old male reports that on September 16, 2009 at approximately 1430 hours, he was in the area of Gladstone Avenue and Dufferin Park Avenue, when he was approached from behind by two male suspects. One suspect held a knife to the victim’s throat, while a second suspect went through his pockets and removed his cellular telephone. The second suspect threatened the victim with a handgun. The suspects fled the scene in an unknown direction. The victim did not sustain any injuries. Police are requesting the assistance of the public in identifying the following described persons in connection with this offence.

Description of Suspect #1: Male, 15 to 17 years, 5’7”, 99 pounds, thin build.

Suspect #2: Male, black, 15 to 17 years, 5’9”, 99 pounds, thin build, long afro black hair.


September 23, 2009
M. E. wrote:

It’s interesting how the note race only for the black person.

B. K. wrote:

Not just interesting but appalling. I'm Asian and I am always astonished by the racial descriptions. Was the other causasian? Asian? Italian? Fair skinned? Blond?

you get it.

September 24, 2009
C. wrote:

I noticed this too but assumed (hopefully) that it was left out because the victim of the attack didn't see him clearly. Of course, after thinking about it, that seems ridiculous. He could identify the height, body type and age, so he obviously saw the both the perps.

Michael Monastyrskyj

I get a lot police press releases and when a suspect is white, Asian, aboriginal, etc. the release usually says so. Why wasn't the race of the second suspect mentioned here? It might have been left out inadvertently or more likely, the police don't have a good description.

Michael Monastyrskyj

What are people saying? That police singled out the race of a black suspect because of a racial bias against blacks? Is that the accusation?

If that is the accusation, I repeat what I said before. I have seen many police press releases that identify suspects as white, Asian, aboriginal, etc. I have not seen a pattern of police singling out the race of black suspects. We can only speculate why the race of one of the two suspects was omitted in this particular press release.

We have a report of a robbery involving a knife to the throat and a threat to use a gun. Surely that is more worrisome than the fact that the press release mentions that one of the suspects is black.

I'm not saying the report should be taken at face value. There may be more to this story than we've heard so far. However, I don't think we can dismiss the report either. If there was a robbery and it happened as described, it is alarming.

M. wrote:

The incident description stated that one of the perps held the victim from behind at knifepoint while the other frisked him. I am assuming the perp who was not a stated race was the one standing behind the victim with the knife to his throat, and the victim wasn't able to see skin or hair to make a statement about that.

C. wrote:

Perhaps you are right and it was left this way because the victim really didn't see the skin or hair of the second guy. Maybe he only saw him from behind, or at a distance and maybe he was wearing gloves. Totally possible.

But, racial profiling does happen... and the omission in the description was odd. I think it is healthy to question why this might have been done in this case.

And I didn't hear anyone "dismissing" the report. I certainly don't like the idea that this crime happened in the afternoon a five minute walk from my house and that a gun and a knife were used. Yikes.

R. C. wrote:

I blame the air show.

T. W. wrote:

Thank you for separating the wheat from the chaff Michael :)

Content last modified on October 20, 2009, at 01:35 AM EST