Race, Diversity, and the Politics of Hate Crime: An Analysis of Police Response to Racially Motivated Hate Crimes in the Greater Toronto Area
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This dissertation examines police responses to racially motivated hate crimes in the Greater Toronto Area. In the mid-1990s, police services in Canada developed procedures to respond to suspected hate/bias motivated crimes. Hate crime procedures and training programs developed around two central foci: 1) traditional policing concerns involving proper investigative techniques, evidence collection, and documentation; and 2) emerging concerns regarding victim care, community consultation, and respect for racial and cultural diversity. Two sets of empirical data ground this study: 1) texts, including documents obtained through Access to Information requests and publicly accessible documents pertaining to hate crime policy and training; and 2) 34 semi-structured interviews with uniform and civilian police personnel. Central to my project is an examination of key government documents, including formal police protocols, working group documents, internal police job descriptions, statistical reports, officer handbooks, and training materials that outline the official police protocols, guidelines, and rationales relating to hate crime. By examining officer accounts of their on-the-ground practices, the training regimes involved in hate crime response, and investigative strategies employed by officers, I trace the way institutional mandates, personal experiences, and notions of Canadian multiculturalism coordinate and legitimize particular forms of intervention. I argue that hate as a primary object of police attention is often obscured by concerns police officers see as more important, such as protecting the credibility of law enforcement organizations, preventing non-criminal disputes from becoming criminal matters, police victimization at the hands of the public, and perceptions of the fundamental unfairness of hate crime laws. In this way, I show how the policing of hate crime is organized by a system of racial governance that obscures race and racism even as it claims to confront them.