Council was told security hired to prevent encampments wouldn’t make arrests. One councillor is questioning why city documents say otherwise.
“I would like to know why we have documents that say they won’t make arrests. I would like to know why we have them in writing and they won’t make any arrests,” councillor Shawn Menard told the Star. “To me, it’s kind of odd to read. If I had a situation where I was concerned, I would want someone to go out there and arrest me.”
The documents provided to councillors — which councillors say show they may be required to comply with security officers’ rules of engagement — are dated January 23, 2018, and contain comments and questions from city staff regarding what they were told by law enforcement regarding encampments in the city-owned and controlled park, which is managed by the Toronto Police Service.
In one of the documents presented to council, Toronto city staff confirmed to councillors that they have the right to request police security to “ensure compliance with the conditions of the lease to the property and/or to the policies established by its owner.”
Councillors were also told that police could be called to enforce lease conditions and rules if residents aren’t complying.
“We have a long history with the city of Toronto in this area where they have allowed a large encampment,” Menard said. “There was a very well-founded concern that the city was allowing a very large encampment in the city-owned public park and that led to a lot of public reaction.”
“The city staff in this document did not have any basis for any action or recommendation,” said John Parker, the city’s community services manager, in an email to CityNews. “In fact, they stated that they themselves were unaware of the encampment until being contacted by council.”
In a statement provided to city council on January 23