Reece Maxwell-Crawford’s Open letter to TTC CEO Richard Leary and TTC Chair Jaye Robinson —
July 25, 2019
Dear Mr. Leary and Councilor Robinson,
I was racially profiled on the TTC. You are no doubt familiar with my case as it has received a lot of public attention over the last few weeks. I am writing to request that you meet with me and my lawyer to discuss a resolution to my case. I am extremely disappointed that to date, TTC has made absolutely no effort to reach out to me, to apologize or to try to right the wrong that was done to me. The TTC cannot continue to ignore me.
On February 18, 2018, completely out of the blue, TTC fare inspectors singled me out, assaulted me, threw me to the ground face first and then pinned there by putting their full body weight on my back while I yelled out in pain. They justified their actions by saying that they perceived me to be a “threat” despite the fact that I was minding my own business and not doing anything remotely threatening. To me, this was a clear act of racism. I was singled out and targeted because of the colour of my skin. My only crime was riding the TTC while black.
The TTC had a chance to make this right through its own internal investigation, and yet it failed completely. Instead, the TTC used the results of its own deeply flawed investigation to protect itself and to cover up the issue of racial profiling.
It was not until the Toronto Ombudsman issued her report in July 11, 2019, which found that the TTC investigation was not thorough, fair or transparent and had failed to examine evidence that pointed to racial bias on behalf of the fare inspectors, that the TTC belatedly acknowledged that there was an organizational defect regarding racial profiling on the TTC that needs to be addressed. Since that time, Mr. Leary, you have acknowledged that black men do not feel safe on the TTC, and made a number of public statements saying that the TTC can and will do better. I also understand that because of my case, the TTC has publicly committed to implementing a “system-wide anti-racism strategy, aimed directly at preventing racial profiling, and covering all aspects of the TTC’s operation.”
I am glad that the TTC is taking these steps. Yet despite all of these public statements, since the very beginning, the TTC has made no effort whatsoever to right the wrong that was done to me. No one from the TTC has ever reached out to me. No one from the TTC has apologized. In fact, last week, my lawyers reached out to the TTC to try to find a solution to my case, and the TTC did not even bother to respond.
It is good that the TTC now says that it is going to address racism and racial profiling on the TTC, but none of it will mean anything if the TTC if it does not also confront and make right the wrong that it did to me. If the TTC is not going to address an actual incident of racial profiling, then what is the point? Why would anyone trust the TTC to actually fix the larger problem of racial profiling?
I deserve better than this. I shouldn’t have been profiled and assaulted in the first place, and I shouldn’t have been re-victimized by the TTC’s internal investigation. The TTC needs to account for this incident and its inaction in fixing it if the TTC is going to regain the trust and respect of Torontonians.
Will you meet with me?
Update: On July 25, 2019, Mr. Maxwell-Crawford received the below response from CEO Richard Leary. We view this response as a dodge that is inadequate and frankly disrespectful. It remains the case that no one from the TTC has reached out to Mr. Maxwell-Crawford or made any effort to address the wrong that was done to him.
Dear Reece Maxwell-Crawford,
Thank you for reaching out to me today.
As you are aware, our respective representatives are in discussion regarding the matter before us.
We are undertaking a number of measures to address concerns raised by the Ombudsman and members of the public around race relations at the TTC.
I hope once the matter between us is concluded, you and I can sit down face to face and discuss ways to make the TTC even more welcoming for all customers.
Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer