Police recording all incidences of carding a positive step

May 13, 2015 By Matthew Friedberg
It's a positive move forward that Toronto Police have now said officers will record all instances of "carding," says Toronto criminal lawyer Matthew Friedberg.

“This is a giant step in terms of the carding policy and procedure," he tells AdvocateDaily.com.

"The whole purpose of the camera is to make police accountable to ensure peoples’ rights are being protected and to protect police. It has a dual purpose.”

Friedberg weighs in on the issue after the National Post initially reported that officers wouldn't record carding. They would turn on their body cams “prior to arriving at a call for service or when they start investigating an individual" and turn them off “when the call for service or investigation is complete” or when the officer deems the recording is no longer serving its purpose.

The Toronto police have since backtracked and the force's spokesperson has said she was mistaken to have said officers won't record instances of carding. Under the rules of a new pilot project, officers will be expected to film any interaction that could be considered carding under any definition, says the latest article in The Post.

The use of the cameras, by 100 officers in four units, is part of a one-year pilot project, which was sparked in part by the shooting death of Sammy Yatim, says the newspaper.

Friedberg says the use of the cameras provides police with an opportunity to continue their policy of carding with a level of transparency and accountability.

“The purpose of the cameras, in part, is to make police accountable for officer behaviour," he says. “The value of the cameras would be diminished if they were turned off during carding."

Friedberg says it would have been unfortunate and disappointing if the police would have chosen to turn off the body cams while carding.

“It would have resulted in a lack of monitoring when it comes to instances of carding and this would have only heightened the concern around carding that it can violate someone's rights,” he says.