BY ALEX CONSIGLIO ,TORONTO SUN
TORONTO – Outspoken crime victim advocate Kemi Omololu-Olunloyo says working with Toronto Police to call for a ceasefire in the Somali community has been a “nightmare.”
Three men of Somali background have been gunned down in less than two months and Omololu-Olunloyo wants to call for a ceasefire at Toronto Police’s 23 Division in Rexdale — the heart of Somali violence.
Ahmed Hassan was killed during last month’s Eaton Centre shooting rampage, and since then, Hussein Hussein and Abdulle Elmi have been shot and killed in separate incidents in Toronto.
Omololu-Olunloyo said hosting a ceasefire press conference in the 23 Division parking lot would highlight how police and the community are working together.
“They said ‘No,’ and brushed me off,” Omololu-Olunloyo said Monday. “It’s a disgrace that police aren’t willing to work with the community.”
Omololu-Olunloyo had invited members of the community and families of the victims to the event and said they’re upset police aren’t willing to work with them.
“They want us to work with them, but we can’t even use their parking lot — it’s a joke,” said Omololu-Olunloyo.
Omololu-Olunloyo added many youth hold the opinion that police don’t take black-on-black crime seriously and disregard it as gangsters taking out gangsters.
Toronto Police Supt. Ron Taverner, of 23 Division, said that’s “absolutely not true,” adding police are “more than willing” to work with the community.
“Our position is that it’s a community organized event,” said Taverner, noting it has the full support of police. “It should therefore be held in the community and we’ve helped find a place for it to be held.”
Taverner said it was police who contacted personnel at Rexdale’s Dixon Community Services to see if they’d be willing to host the event, where it will now take place on Thursday at noon.
“If we were to hold it in our lot, it would become a police event and that’s not what it is,” said Taverner. “It’s not about police, it’s about the community.”