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TORONTO: Knia Singh files charter challenge against police policy of ‘carding’ after being stopped at least 30 times

Toronto man files charter challenge against police policy of ‘carding’ after being stopped at least 30 times

 | June 10, 2015 4:42 PM ETMore from Victor Ferreira | @VicF77
Knia Singh, centre, and his lawyer, Vilko Zbogar.

Victor Ferreira/National PostKnia Singh, centre, and his lawyer, Vilko Zbogar.

TORONTO — Mayor John Tory may have called for a cancellation to the police’s controversial carding program, but one Toronto man is still choosing to take his battle against the policy to court.

Knia Singh, a law student at Osgoode Hall Law School, filed a challenge on carding based on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms Wednesday. Singh is looking to have his records “expunged” and said the decision to file a declaration was made before Tory announced he would seek the program’s cancellation at the Toronto Police Services Board meeting on June 18.

“Based on previous practice, we cannot just wait on the word of the mayor to make this happen,” Singh said. “We have to rely on the judicial system of our courts.”

The practice of carding allowed Toronto police to routinely and randomly approach citizens and request personal information that would be kept on record for an undetermined amount of time and be easy to access. The controversial practice was said to disproportionately target the black community and police have been accused of bias and racial profiling.

Former police Chief Bill Blair put the practice on hold in January until changes could be made to the policy. Police Chief Mark Saunders has repeatedly said random stops are no longer occurring.

Singh said he has been carded 10 times and has been stopped by police at least 30 times.

After filing a freedom of information request to view his records, he said the false information he found made him fear for his safety.

“Inaccurate information stated that I was not police friendly, that I was born in Jamaica when I was born in Toronto, that I have a possible immigration warrant, made me realize that my safety was at jeopardy if this was not addressed,” Singh said outside City Hall today.

Singh and his lawyer Vilko Zbogar filed a challenge to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms based on their assertion that carding and the police’s retention of personal information that has been gathered is illegal. Zbogar said it may take a year for the courts to make a decision.


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