Report shows police are key drivers of racism against Black people: Akwasi Owusu-Bempah of UTM discusses the cycle of criminalization

Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah was recently featured in an opinion piece in The Toronto Star by columnist Shree Paradkar. The story discusses a new report by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) detailing how Toronto Police are more likely to criminalize and use violence during encounters with Black people. The article Are we OK living in a society where (yet another human rights report shows) police are key drivers of racism against Black people?, cites Professor Owusu-Bempah speaking on the OHRC report. Owusu-Bempah explains how racism enters the cycle of criminalization beginning with the overpolicing of Black communities and accumulates throughout each level of engagement with the law enforcement and court systems. He highlights how the disruption of these encounters has broad and long-lasting impacts on Black lives well after individual encounters with law enforcement, and these effects can feed back into the cycle that finds Black people at a heightened risk of being criminalized.

Professor Owusu-Bempah is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities at the U of T Mississauga campus. He frequently provides commentary to public and governmental agencies, community organizations, and media outlets on topics related to his research focus: the intersection of race, policing and justice.

We’ve included an excerpt to the article below. Read the full article in The Toronto Star here (paywall).

Are we OK living in a society where (yet another human rights report shows) police are key drivers of racism against Black people?