CANADA: Highest Ranking Black Woman In Toronto Police Service Admits To Helping Black Officers “Cheat” To Get Promotions

Natasha Biase

A senior Toronto cop is being tried for professional misconduct after admitting to helping black officers cheat to get promotions. Superintendent Stacy Clarke is facing several charges after revealing she had provided confidential interview information to six African-Canadian officers.

In 2021, Clarke, the highest-ranking black woman in the Toronto Police Service (TPS), sat on a panel responsible for interviewing and promoting officers. In an effort to diversify the police force, Clarke reportedly got involved with the promotion process by sharing interview answers with six potential candidates, all of whom were of the same race.

Referring to the racist undertones of Canadian police culture Clarke describes as “soul-crushing,” she expressed that without her interference the candidates “didn’t stand a chance.”

In an internal police report from January of 2022, Clarke wrote: “I felt at the time that they did not have a fair chance in this process, and my own history and experience of racial inequity compounded this feeling … I decided that if the opportunity presented itself, I would assist the candidates and make a desperate effort to level the playing field.”

Clarke also noted in that the 2020 death of George Floyd caused her “acute stress” after she was appointed to lead the force’s response to the Black Lives Matter protests. During that time, she was also reportedly asked by the TPS to be the “public face of progress and change within Toronto police.”

In 2023, under the Ontario Police Services Act, she pleaded guilty to several charges, including three counts of discreditable conduct, one count of insubordination, and three counts of breach of confidence.

The four-day trial proceedings began on Monday, where Clarke explained her intentions behind leaking the interview questions before the tribunal in a letter read by her lawyer, Joseph Markson.

“We say we are striving for equity and inclusion, but my personal experiences have come into conflict with that notion.”

In addition to claiming during opening statements that Clarke has been “running uphill, against the wind” for the 26 years she’s worked for the force, Markson claimed she committed a “desperate act of equalization” by helping “the next generation of Black officers” fraudulently succeed on their interviews.

“As the first black female superintendent in the history of the Toronto Police Service, Supt. Clarke has been running uphill against the wind for more than 26 years,” he said, adding that the TPS should forgive Clarke because her acts were motivated by good intentions.

“I am confident that the record before you in this hearing will show that her journey is defined by courage, perseverance, goodwill, heartbreak and hurtful disappointments and frustrations, forged and amplified by the fire, failure and humiliation of this difficult chapter in her vocation as a police officer.”

During the proceedings, character witnesses, such as Toronto’s first black police chief, Mark Saunders, testified on Clarke’s behalf, praising her for her integrity as an officer and the success she’s had “tackling the problem of racism in law enforcement.”

Others, like former president of the Jamaican Canadian Association, Audrey Campbell, who worked with Clarke to combat racism within policing, and Retired Superintendent David McLeod, also sang her praises for her anti-Black racism initiatives.

Despite her lawyer’s efforts to have her demoted for 18 months with plans to be reinstated the prosecutor on the case, Scott Hutchinson, reminded the court that her behavior would typically be deemed a fireable offense.

“The conduct in question is incredibly serious within the context of a policing organization,” Hutchison said, proposing that she be demoted for two years, after which she can reapply for a superintendent position.

The disciplinary hearing is scheduled to continue tomorrow at Toronto Police Headquarters.

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