CBC News Reports on:

CBC News Reports on:

6 Toronto cops were found guilty of disparaging anti-racism advocates. The report was kept secret.

Six Toronto police officers have been found guilty of discreditable conduct for making disparaging social media comments about a well-known criminal defence lawyer and an anti-racism activist, CBC News has learned.

The officers were quietly found guilty last month, according to a Toronto police report that was never intended to be made public. CBC News has obtained a copy of the 20-page confidential document, which outlines how some of the officers described lawyer Selwyn Pieters as a "loser" and author Desmond Cole as a "racist."

"Selwyn would cry racism if I said I drink my coffee black," read one of the five Facebook comments posted and liked by the officers.

The comments were made by officers across multiple police divisions on a seventh unnamed officer's public Facebook page in July of 2018 but were only brought to the Toronto Police Service (TPS) earlier this year.

The internal police investigation was launched after someone not identified in the report came across the officers' personal but public Facebook posts.

"As a member of a visible minority group, those Facebook posts made me feel angry, sad, shocked, and upset," the complainant said, according to the investigator's report.

The internal Toronto police report was completed on Oct. 20 by Det.-Sgt. Jeff Hopkins of the service's Equity Inclusion and Human Rights unit. He determined the public posts harmed the reputation of the service.

"Comments such as those posted by these officers threaten to derail concerted efforts to build better relationships between the Black community and the Toronto Police Service," wrote Hopkins.

Comments not found to be racist
However, Hopkins said the comments were not deemed to be racist.

"The TPS is committed to identifying and holding accountable those who express racist beliefs," Hopkins wrote.

"However, in this particular situation, the Investigator did not uncover any evidence to establish that the comments amounted to discrimination."

Pieters disagrees with that conclusion.

"The language that they used against me was insulting. It was profane. It was rude. And some of it brings the administration of justice into disrepute," he told CBC News.

The second person targeted by the officers was Desmond Cole, the well-known anti-racism activist and author.

Cole declined to comment to CBC News.

While the investigation lasted three months, neither Cole nor Pieters were ever interviewed as part of the probe.


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