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MIRROR: Complete Mississauga Judicial Inquiry Transcripts

Are increases in Youth bans and arrests a natural consequence of “Zero Tolerance” Policies?

October 14th, 2009  

Let’s get right into it.

What follows is a transcript of a deputation I gave to City of Mississauga Council this morning. Called “On Matters of INsecurity”, it was an attempt to correct statements made by Councillor Pat Saito at the September 30, 2009 Council meeting.

She and it seems all City of Mississauga elected officials believe that “various steps” are taken by City of Mississauga security guards before youth are banned from City Property, As Councillor Saito put it, “a ban is not an instant step. Usually. There are other steps that have been taken before that happens in many cases.”

My deputation made it clear that for youth and minors there are no “various steps” prior to banning. And that Mississauga City security guards arrest youth (12 and up) immediately should they return to Property during a ban. After all, Director of City Security Ken Owen insists, Zero Tolerance is the hallmark of Zero Tolerance policies.

In short I reminded Mayor and Councillors of some of the youth-toxic consequences in the “Zero Tolerance” Violence, Vandalism and Bullying Policy that Council passed unanimously in December 2006.

So, here’s video of today’s “Zero Tolerance” deputation followed by my speech notes.

Video: ABOUT BIG BROTHER: On Matters of INsecurity, “ZERO TOLERANCE” (7:13 sec)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

I will be handing this speech note to the City Clerk’s office for inclusion in the October 14, 2009 Council meeting minutes. Please know that footnote [1] does not appear in the original presented at Council. But now will.

DEPUTATION: a matter of INsecurity

First of all, thanks Madam Mayor for inviting me to meet with you on August 31st regarding City of Mississauga Corporate Security’s practices of banning and arresting youth and minors while on City property. I apologize that I wasn’t able to attend.

You see, back in July I emailed a list of questions to Commissioner Breault that I needed answering prior to our meeting and there seems to be a bit of a hold up. [1]

Today I want to address something that Councillor Saito said during the last Council meeting (and that the September 30, 2009 Council minutes failed to record).

Regarding making details of youth banned and arrested from City facilities public information, the Council minutes correctly state:

Councillor Pat Saito asked if staff could look at making the information public on Bans at Arenas and Public Places. She enquired if staff could post the information on the site without violating the Freedom of Information Act, particularly the reason for the ban, the type of incidents and what the City is doing about it. She felt that the information could be posted monthly or bi-monthly. Councillor Pat Saito provided direction that a report be brought back on her request.

All true. But the minutes fail to mention what I believe is the most important thing that Councillor Saito said.

(This is a transcript from video)

Quote:

… I think it’s important that our residents are made aware of these incidents and they’re made aware of the various steps that are taken, because a ban is not an instant step. Usually.

There are other steps that have been taken before that happens in many cases.

Frankly I’m surprised that any City of Mississauga elected official would somehow think that various steps are taken before youth and minors are banned from City property. Whatever would give you that idea?

I’m here to tell you that $2,100 worth of Freedom of Information suggests that nothing can be further from the truth.

Regarding Councillor Saito’s belief that “the various steps are taken, because a ban is not an instant step usually”, back in December 2006 Council passed the Violence, Vandalism and Bullying Policy.

Well, just a reminder what the Policy says about bans:

“The City of Mississauga will take appropriate disciplinary action when incidents of vandalism, violence or bullying occur in City facilities. Such action may include the immediate banning of the patron from the facility.”

Security Special Occurrence Reports secured through Freedom of Information confirm “immediate banning” not just of kids as young as 9/10 from three facilities at once (Mississauga Civic Centre, Living Arts Centre and Central Library) but also immediate “Zero Tolerance” arrests of kids should they return during their ban.

Freedom of Information has confirmed the arrest right here of a 12/13 year old who returned to the skate plaza two hours after being banned from there.

Fact is, the Violence, Vandalism and Bullying Policy makes it clear that anyone returning during a ban “will be” arrested. Zero Tolerance. Instant step.

The only way to escape arrest under the Violence, Vandalism and Bullying Policy, should you return during a ban, is to be under 12 years of age.

Now Councillor Saito, you stated that you weren’t going to get specific about what youth information you want generated. I believe you should be specific.

You need to be aware of the “non-robust” nature of that database (and “non-robust” is how the City described that database, not us).

The Security database is wonky, about as flexible as a cinder block and has spit out spurious, unreliable reports when accommodating our Freedom of Information requests.

The database does however have enormous value in its raw data –that is, its historical information. It does after all contain stats on almost three years of worth of bans, fines, trespass and arrests issued by your security guards to hundreds of people –many of them youth and minors.

Essentially, embedded in that raw data just waiting for extracting is a unique social history of the City of Mississauga –testimony of what happens when Security guards are granted the power to ban (and this is a direct quote)

“at their own discretion, and/or effect a trespass arrest if required. This is done at the time of an incident and is necessarily independent of any control or oversight from the Violence and Vandalism Committee.“

That database therefore is invaluable for Roots of Youth violence research.

Next. Related topic.

I need to address Councillor Iannicca’s kindness that he extended to me back in June. How he said he believed that I was sincere, had done my homework but just wasn’t sure of The Ask.

Sir, tomorrow I have to go into Toronto to file yet another appeal with the Information and Privacy Commissioner because the City has blocked total access to City Security’s records of bans, trespass and arrests –the very records that Councillor Saito requested be made public just fourteen days ago.

The Ask, Councillor Iannicca?…

I’ve taken the liberty of preparing a list of specific queries for that database that I believe Council should see.

My husband and I are pursuing our request for the database through appeal to the Privacy Commissioner, but we recognize that for the present, the reporting requested by Councillor Saito and approved by motion of Council is currently the only means of extracting meaningful information.

I therefore ask that these queries be included in any reporting requested by Council. Thank you for your consideration.

[1] In fairness, Commissioner Breault reminded me that I had pulled the original set of (21) questions and then re-submitted them and that I had given her a meeting date of January. True. But what I didn’t make properly clear to her was that I set January on the assumption that I’d get the Mississauga Corporate Security database and my answers by the end of October to get time to prepare..not going to happen.)

And for the record, this is The Ask that I handed to Council.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH LOGO

REPORTS/QUERIES NEEDED:

Record of all Youth bans, trespass and arrests from all City facilities/Property including Transit terminals and routes from January 1, 2006 to current: (fields to include Date, Time, Year of Birth, Gender, Anonymized Identifier (to replace name), First three letters of Postal Code or if missing, City, Banning Period, Primary Ban File Key, Secondary File Key, Facility 1, Facility 2, Facility 3, Facility Group, Security Guard Witness, Security Guard “Writer”, SOR Group and “To” (Shift Supervisor name).

Where there is an arrest, fields to include:

Violent
Weapons
Arrested
Resisted
Fled
Level of Force Used
Name of Peel Regional Police officer.

Database should be able to present these data (including all fields) at the click of a mouse organized by:

Age
Gender
First three letters of Postal code (or if not recorded City)
Facility 1 (aka Facility where Ban originated)
Security Guard “Writer”
Security Guard witness
Shift Supervisor.

Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

MISSISSAUGAWATCH QUIS CUSTODIET IPSOS CUSTODES? WHO WATCHES THE WATCHERS?

FLUSH THE KNOB-GUARDS!
HUMANS DESERVE SPECIAL CONSTABLES EXCLUSIVELY UNDER PEEL REGIONAL POLICE!

Comments

3 Responses to “Are increases in Youth bans and arrests a natural consequence of “Zero Tolerance” Policies?”

  1. DeValera on October 14th, 2009 8:55 pm

    Great effort Muse- wish I was there to support you today. DV

  2. The Mississauga Muse on October 15th, 2009 8:31 am

    Hi DeValera!

    As always thanks for your kind words of support.

    Check out the October 14, 2009 Council agenda and be HORRIFIED! (I didn’t notice until near the end of the meeting because I didn’t survey the agenda all the way through prior.)

    There was a ghastly Notice of Motion moved by Councillor Katie Mahoney about the HORROR of the City of Mississauga hiring its own Integrity Commissioner!

    Get this.

    17. NOTICES OF MOTION

    (a) Moved by : Councillor Katie Mahoney

    That staff bring back the report dealt with previously with respect to the retention of an Integrity Commissioner, and further, that staff provide a range of options for Council to consider with respect to the retention of an Integrity Commissioner to deal with matters that may arise with the Council of The Corporation of the City of Mississauga.

    LA.07

    As you know, I’ve been researching the creation, drafting and implementation of the City Security formal public complaints procedure through Freedom of Information (FOI). It was a sham from the moment someone said, “I know! Let’s create a complaints policy to create the appearance that we responded to Donald Barber’s call for a broad disclosure of Mississauga Corporate Security’s conduct and operations!”

    Got the final FOI back last Friday to confirm what involvement the City’s Internal and External Auditors had in the Security complaints policy at any stage prior to them recommending it be approved by Council (ZERO!) And a previous FOI revealing the complaints (right down to the details and in some cases lacking details) against Security personnel gave me as thorough a picture of a Corporate Policy as I’ve ever gotten.

    Sham. Bogus. But at least there is no additional cost to the taxpayer.

    This one though? Sure. I know, the public can have confidence in an Integrity Commissioner hired by a municipality when they see what I have in FOI on the City Security Complaints process? Like we need yet another City employee (because that’s what an Integrity Commissioner is) to send us a letter with “Your allegations regarding [insert here] have not been substantiated” and you know that’s true —but only because you know that they never bothered conducting a legitimate investigation to substantiate them.

    For that, all the City needs is just to Pretend Integrity Commissioner, and they might as well just add “Integrity Commissioner” to the duties of each existing Commissioner right now. Sure, just as bogus. But at least at no additional cost to the taxpayer.

    That Mahoney would even suggest this shows just how out of touch she is with the actions of City staff. Or…hmmm… she’s prepared to spend several thou on a pretend Integrity Commissioner so the City can claim this “progress” for its Successes 2009.

    I’m fighting this noise man. I just don’t know whether to fight that at General Committee or Council or both… and I’m still tired from yesterday. (Since Friday have had to write/prep for that “On a matter of INsecurity”  deputation and along with my husband, prepare the Appeal to the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

    I did NOT need Mahoney’s Notice of Motion upping my timeline this badly.

    Anyway friend, have to put the final touches on that Appeal and be off to T.O.

    CARPE DIEM

  3. DeValera on October 17th, 2009 11:01 am

    thanks Muse…. liked to have been there.

    Hey! They could hire the Integrity Commission who quit Aurora after not being listened to. How ELSE can an integrity commissioner prove their dedication to cause and craft than to walk out after six months (and not have another job lined up nor thought of).

    Funny Story in today’s Globe: suggestions that organized crime controls much of the road construction business in Quebec. Shocking! gee – I left there in ’78 and knew well about the problem. Indeed as a kid we knew not to cause trouble near a certain restaurant because the punishment would be worse than what the cops would deliver. (hint: movie fans would think of Al Pacino & Robert Duvall – too obvious to name the guy who used to shout “Stella!” ….no kids, not how another beer is ordered).

    DV


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