Toronto police officer calls Tory ‘direct contributor’ to gun violence
Sumran Bhan, CTV News Toronto
Published Friday, July 6, 2018 10:54AM EDT
In a highly unusual move, a Toronto police officer has issued a rebuke of Mayor John Tory, blaming him for the recent gun violence, in a letter obtained by CTV News Toronto.
The letter was written by veteran police officer Mark Hayward and has been circulating within the police force.
“I feel you are a direct contributor to this violence with your stance and support on the cancellation of the TAVIS program,” it states.
“You flip flopped on carding and supported its demise. You forced budget and staffing cuts on the Toronto police. It is obvious Chief Saunders is a puppet on strings and you are pulling them.”
The TAVIS program, known as Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy, was introduced in 2006, to help reduce violent crime in the city. It put additional officers in high-risk neighborhoods.
Critics said the program increased tension between police and members of the community.
In his letter, Hayward also called on the mayor “step aside and allow the Chief of police free reign, free of political interference to do the job he has trained for over the last 35 years.”
The Toronto Police Service issued a terse response to the letter on Friday afternoon.
“We don’t respond to abusive comments,” said TPS spokesperson Mark Pugash.
On Friday evening, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders issued a statement regarding the letter saying the force has “full support of Mayor John Tory.”
“A full professional standards investigation has been launched,” Saunders said. “Right now, there are conflicting points between what has been reported in the media and what our investigation has uncovered. We will get answers and, if misconduct is determined, the officer will be disciplined.”
Saunders added that success in the modernization of the Toronto Police Service is “dependent on the entire strategy, not any one factor.”