Matlow, Layton call for judicial inquiry into encampment clearnings

Two Toronto city councillors are putting forward a motion to call for a judicial inquiry into the controversial clearing of encampments.

Josh Matlow and Mike Layton say the role of the police in the clearings deserves a thorough investigation that can only be achieved through an external party.

It cost the city nearly $2-million to remove encampments at Trinity Bellwoods, Alexandra Park, and Lamport Stadium over the summer, angering protesters who frequently clashed with police while they evicted people who had been living at the parks.

The city also spent more than $790,000 to clean up the three parks, including removing debris.

Matlow and Layton say the videos that circulated in the media showed a use of force that is “unprecedented” and “unacceptable,” and that there is a critical need to examine what happened.

The motion will be presented at city council Monday.

Last week, the office of Toronto’s Ombudsman announced that it has launched an investigation into the clearings.

Kwame Addo said they have received complaints about the way the city handled encampment evictions and the City Manager has been formally notified of the investigation.

“The investigation will focus on how the City of Toronto planned the encampment clearings, engaged stakeholders, and communicated with the public, as well as the policies and procedures that guided its actions,” the Ombudsman’s office said in a release.

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