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Saunders to step down as Toronto police chief at the end of July

Diana Pereira, 680News and CityNews

Last Updated Jun 8, 2020 at 11:21 pm EDT

Toronto police chief Mark Saunders says he will step down from his position on July 31.

The chief officially announced his resignation eight months before his contract is set to expire in a news conference on Monday afternoon.

In his announcement Saunders said the police force will continue to do “everything it can to ensure that public trust is at the forefront of every word and every deed.”

He added he looks forward to being a full time dad and full time husband “that’s not an exhausted byproduct that walks through the door at the end of the day.”

However, he said his health was not a factor in his decision. Saunders had a kidney transplant in 2017 and said he’s “as healthy a beast” as he ever will be.

When asked what he will be doing next, Saunders said he’s not retiring altogether. He alluded to working “for free” and as a “free agent” working somewhere in the city.

“I see a lot of young black boys getting killed by young black boys,” said Saunders. “Law enforcement deals with those symptoms and I want to help find the cure for the disease. I think I have a ton of knowledge that can help keep governments in check and do the right things to make sure that we get it right.”

When asked about what change he hopes to affect in the two months left in his tenure, Saunders said the police force is ready to take action against anti-Black racism. He said he was heartened by the numbers of young people at the protests this weekend and it’s time to build on that momentum.

“It sounds like the youth are there, they know what they need. Now they’re coming to the table. This is a fantastic opportunity of all of us. We’re tired of words, now it’s time to move to action. This organization is ready to go.”

Saunders said that he spoke to the mayor and the chair of the Police Services Board early last week about his decision. He added that he will not be involved in picking his replacement — that is for the board to decide.

Watch the police chief’s full comments below.

 

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