“Today, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders announced that his last day as Chief of the Toronto Police Service will be 31 July 2020”, the Toronto Police Service said on Monday. Saunders’ abrupt resignation comes amid growing calls to defund the Toronto police force.
Today, I announced that my last day as Chief of the Toronto Police Service will be July 31, 2020. I’m honoured to have served & I have every confidence in the members of the @TorontoPolice to continue to serve and protect the best city in the world. https://t.co/YjOIiHfEep— Mark Saunders (@marksaunderstps) June 8, 2020
Activists across Canada and the United States have been calling for police departments to be defunded and for the money to be redirected to other areas to help communities, such as education and housing.
Critics have said defunding police departments will leave ordinary citizens defenceless against criminals and predict a drastic rise in crime.
While the calls were spurred by the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Canadian activists have also cited ongoing anti-black and anti-indigenous racism at the hands of police north of the border as well.
However, many of the protests have turned into riots and have seen violence against police and civilians as well as acts of vandalism, arson, and looting.