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Black Lives Matter Toronto Protesters Demand Justice For Andrew Loku

Black Lives Matter Toronto Protesters Demand Justice For Andrew Loku

Photo above courtesy of Black Lives Matter Toronto.

By Narissa Van Cooten
Pride Guest Columnist

Toronto, Ontario — Last night, Black Lives Matter Toronto demonstrators continued to protest outside of the Toronto Police headquarters demanding justice for Andrew Loku, a 45-year-old father of five who was shot and killed by Toronto Police in July 2015. The group had been protesting outside city hall and police headquarters since Sunday.

The protest came on the heels of the Special Investigation Unit’s (SIU) decision not to charge the unnamed Toronto police officer saying he did not exceed “the ambit of justifiable force in the circumstances” when he fatally shot Loku, who was holding a hammer, SIU director Tony Loparco said in a statement.

The scene outside of police headquarters took a turn as Toronto police started to douse the fires and dismantle the tents of the protesters claiming it was “required for safety” and added that the “peaceful protests may continue.”

Black Lives Matter Toronto has been protesting many events across the GTA lately. Last month, the group crashed Mayor John Tory’s inaugural Black History Month (BHM) celebration for youth, at Toronto City Hall saying they want to “highlight the injustices against Toronto’s Black communities”. Last July, protesters shut down a section of Allen Road due to the SIU’s decision to clear police officers in the shooting homicide of Jermaine Carby.

Today, the hashtag #BLMTOtentcity has been trending on Twitter with a flood of angry tweets towards Toronto Police for crashing the protest. Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said, “the [Toronto Police] will always continue to support lawful protest… it is one’s democratic right in Canada.”

In response Black Lives Matter Toronto tweeted, “Apparently ‘support’ is beating up peaceful protesters, pushing us into fire & poisoning the air.”

The group claimed that “police literally [pushed] people into the fire pit, almost killing people… with their violent ambush.”

According to CBC, Sandy Hudson, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto stated, “We’re going to stay here until our community feels like we have been heard.”

“When Andrew Loku was killed, Chief [Mark] Saunders, Mayor John Tory, they said we should wait for the SIU investigation. That we would get justice with the SIU investigation. And just like 95 per cent of the time that the SIU does an investigation against police brutality, they have again decided that we are undeserving of justice,” Hudson continued.

“We’re not going to take this. Our community is not going to take this.”

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