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“Police organizations, I can tell you, that we’re focused on addressing this and we will address it, but this is bigger than policing, the whole community needs to get involved here,” he said. “We heard loud and clear and we are committed to (change).”
Jibirl Ibrahim, president of the Somali Canadian Cultural Society of Edmonton, said he doesn’t think the study shows the full picture.
“I don’t think it’s as rosy as it sounds,” he said Saturday. “I think there’s a lot of room for improvement and we all need to work together. We should not have confidence that the report is giving that most of the Canadians approve, I think is kind of an overstatement.”
He said he wants to work with police and wants them to be successful, but said Indigenous people are overrepresented in the criminal justice system, and change is needed.
He also noted the “true blue” group who strongly supported police are wealthier.
“They don’t encounter officers. They’re not being stopped on the street, being street-checked, asked where they’re going, harassed,” he said.
“People who are well-to-do, they live in a good neighbourhood, right? So they don’t interact as much with the police than people in lower economic areas who have a lot of social issues. They come from refugee camps, they have a lot of trauma and so on.”
Edmonton Police Services has been under increased scrutiny this year. The department faced calls for defunding following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May, after his death sparked global protests against systemic racism and police brutality.
Following weeks of debate and public hearings, Edmonton city council in July approved $11 million in cuts to the police budget over two years. This week, EPS began a series of meetings looking to improve relationships with Black, Indigenous and other people of colour and marginalized communities.
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