Toronto Police Association calls for end to police attacks

Written byby Ben Rooney, CNN

On Wednesday , the Toronto Police Association pleaded with the public to stop filming officers who are being attacked and start helping the injured policemen.

“We are asking people to please stop filming and start helping. When police officers and our partner organizations have to physically protect themselves during an assault, they are justified in doing so,” said Janice Hunt, president of the Toronto Police Association, in a statement.

The police association’s call comes after a video posted on social media this week showed an assault on two young men in Toronto’s west end.

In the video, a group of men is seen running down the street. When the group passes a group of people using a bike rack to hold their handlebars, several men attempted to knock the bike racks off the ground. One man then attacks one of the other men, knocking him to the ground.

Both men reportedly sustained injuries that required medical attention. The other men were able to quickly flee.

Hunt said the public had a “responsibility to protect” police officers.

“To this end, we understand that many members of the public have a video camera in hand that captures the attack on innocent bystanders. It is our belief that as a result of the video recordings that have now emerged, many members of the public see themselves as having an obligation to help,” she said.

Toronto police are unable to arrest people for breaking and entering without seeing the actual break and enter, explained Hunt. As such, the Toronto Police Association has asked officers not to place themselves in positions where they are being assaulted during police calls and to allow time for the incident to be resolved.

“Unfortunately, during such situations, police officers are frequently injured in the line of duty,” said Hunt. “The added risk of injury to the police officers is simply not worth the possible potential for interaction with an irate and vindictive member of the public.”

The Toronto Police Association said it would reach out to members of the public who had witnessed the attack on the bike rack and offered to review their videos and recordings. Hunt hopes to reach “a broader consensus within our community” to help bring an end to such incidents.

“As in other public safety challenges, our officers are consistently operating in a highly charged environment where needless conflict and the perpetuation of negative stereotypes feed upon one another. Yet, that is precisely the reality that we must face as a society if we are to improve the average interaction between police and our community,” said Hunt.

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