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Toronto police need to ‘rebuild trust’ in LGBT community before joining Pride, says advocacy group

Jasmine Andersson April 2, 2018
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TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 3: Ken Leppert (L) of the Ontario Provincial Police, speaks with colleagues at the annual Pride Festival parade, July 3, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will make history as the first Canadian PM to march in the parade. (Photo by Ian Willms/Getty Images)

A leading LGBT+ advocacy group in Toronto has said that the city’s police force ‘needs to rebuild LGBT community trust’ before marching in Pride.

The city advocacy organisation named 519 has said that the police force needs to build bridges after the police Chief’s comments about Toronto serial killer Bruce McArthur, who has been convicted of killing six gay men to date after picking them up in the Toronto Village.

Mark Saunders told Canadian newspaper Globe And Mail that ‘nobody’ came to offer information in 2012 on the Bruce McArthur case.

Bruce McArthur, a 66-year-old self-employed landscaper, has been charged in the murder of two men, both of whom disappeared last year (Getty)

“‘…we don’t believe this is the time for the police to be asserting intentions to participate in Pride,” said Soofia Mahmood, manager of communications for LGBTI advocacy group The 519.

“They have significant work they need to do to build the kind of trust that would make their participation appropriate. We believe that they should be more focused on doing that work,” she added.

Toronto’s LGBT+ community called for “an immediate inquiry” into police conduct around the Bruce McArthur killings.

McArthur is accused of killing seven men around the Toronto area and disposing of their bodies in plant pots.

“Our community is grieving, our community is angry,” Douglas Elliott, a lawyer and community member said at a press conference.

“The Toronto Police Service has been engaged in very meaningful discussions with Pride Toronto since last summer relating to our relationship with the LGBTQ2S communities. A portion of that discussion included the Service’s desire to participate in this year’s Pride Parade,” said a spokesperson for the force.

“The Service will respect the final decision of the Pride committee.

“It will also continue developing its partnerships with the LGBTQ2S communities, one that is strong and enhances confidence and trust, no matter what the outcome.

“This has always been our main priority and aspiration,” they added.

Related topics: Americas, Bruce McArthur, Canada, Canada, Toronto, Toronto serial killer

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