The death of 29-year-old Regis Korchinski-Paquet is continuing to make waves in Toronto. A body cam petition, which has gathered over 40,000 signatures since May 31, is demanding that all Toronto police officers be required to wear mandatory body cameras while responding to calls. The quickly expanding movement is currently being supported by both protestors and authorities alike.
Kate Jandl, the petition's organizer, stated that she created the page in an attempt to prevent future incidents of police brutality from going unnoticed.
"We need to hold police officers accountable for their actions. If there is no footage to prove the brutality, justice will not be served," she said.
"This petition is to get the attention of Mark Saunders, chief of Toronto police in order to push for officers to wear body cameras whenever they are responding. There has been years of “pilot testing” and now with Regis Korchinski-Paquets death, a change has to be made," reads a statement on the petition.
Paquet fell from her 24th-floor balcony last week following an encounter with police. The circumstances surrounding her death caused thousands of anti-racism protesters to march through the city on Saturday.
A police investigation into the incident is still ongoing.
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Chief Mark Saunders released a statement on May 29 saying that Toronto Police body cameras could come into use shortly, revealing they will be "fast-tracking" their introduction.
Saunders made the body cam announcement while speaking at a press conference addressing the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet.
"This is a textbook case as to why I have been advocating for body-worn cameras, and I am now fast-tracking, to the best of my ability, to allow that process to speed up so we can have access to body-worn cameras as soon as possible," Saunders said.
However, he went on to add that, "It's not as easy as strapping a camera on and hitting play."
The police chief added that many issues would need to be resolved before the technology — which has been widely used by other law enforcement agencies in North America — can be officially implemented in Toronto.
For now, Torontonians continue to sign the body cam petition, with the number of names increasing by the minute.
*This article's cover image is for illustrative purposes only.