Toronto, Jun 9 : Toronto’s first black police chief Mark Saunders will step down from his post on July 31, the Toronto Police Service said. 'Today, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders announced that his last day as Chief of the Toronto Police Service will be July 31, 2020,' the Toronto Police Service said in a statement on Monday. Saunders' abrupt resignation came amid recent calls to defund part of the Toronto police budget as well as peaceful protests in response to anti-Black racism and the death of George Floyd in the United States in May, globalnews.ca reported.
He didn’t reveal what specifically led to his decision and said there were a 'whole host of reasons.' Saunders said he received calls recently about working for an extended term and 'had to put it to a stop.' He was appointed chief in 2015 and has worked for Toronto police for more than 37 years. Activists across Canada and the United States have been calling for defunding of police departments and redirecting funds to other areas to help communities, such as education and housing. Critics have said defunding police departments will leave ordinary citizens defenseless against criminals and crime will tremendously increase.
While the calls were spurred by the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Canadian activists have also cited ongoing anti-black and anti-indigenous racism at the hands of police north of the border as well. However, many of the protests have turned into riots complete with violence against police and civilians as well as acts of vandalism, arson and looting. (UNI)