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Police Services Board approves review of missing persons cases

Toronto Police Services board meeting (CITYNEWS)

The Toronto Police Services Board has approved a plan to conduct a review of missing persons cases and how they are handled by Toronto police.

Mayor John Tory put forth a proposal for a working group made up of one board member and three community representatives that would report back in June on the best options for an external review.

Earlier in the day, lawyer and LGBTQ community activist Doug Elliott called on the province’s attorney general to open and immediate public inquiry into the disappearnces and how they were handled by police.

Tory says he’s aware of concerns within the Gay Village about the police response to the disappearance and murder of at least seven men in the community

“A lot of these questions trouble me as they would trouble any person looking at it,” said Tory. “But I think what you have to do is have a thorough, complete, independent external look at all of these kinds of things before you form conclusions as to what happened or whether you should be trying to assess blame.”

Police chief Mark Saunders also supported the motion, saying the public interest and the best interest of the police service would be well served by an independent external review.

“For Toronto’s LGBTQ community this has been a very difficult time and I know that many are very upset and many are still grieving and they have many questions about what happened and what could have been done differently,” said Saunders. “I take these questions seriously and I hope that my actions demonstrate that conviction.”

A group of about 30 activists from the LGBTQ community protested in front of police headquarters ahead of the police services board meeting.

The demonstrators expressed anger over the police response to the Bruce McArthur case, calling on police chief Mark Saunders to resign, saying he is partly to blame for a “systemic failure” by police.