Toronto Police Hindered by Anti-Gay Bias in Bruce McArthur Serial Killer Case

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OTTAWA — A two-and-half-year investigation of the Toronto police found that “systemic discrimination” within the force enabled a serial killer to murder eight gay men, mostly of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent, over a span of seven years.

Several times the police interviewed the killer, Bruce McArthur, who was convicted in 2019, but did not link him to the deaths and released him — allowing him to continue his killing spree.

“There was institutional resistance to the notion that these cases night be linked and that a serial killer might be preying on” Toronto’s L.G.B.T.Q community, Gloria Epstein, a retired justice of the Ontario Court of Appeal, wrote in a report released on Tuesday. “This systemic failure is perhaps the most troubling.”

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The investigation found that the police force repeatedly failed to enter evidence linking the killings to Mr. McArthur into case-tracking software.

The report makes 151 recommendations, among them proposals to allow civilians within the Toronto police force to coordinate missing persons investigations; to centralize those inquiries under one police unit; and to conduct them in concert with public health, social service and not-for-profit community groups.



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