The video mocks Sloly's leadership, specifically the stance he's taken on systemic racism in the force and the way he handled a racist meme created by an OPS officer earlier this year. Similar videos have been made for years to criticize everything from government programs to decisions made by coaches in playoff games to the 2009-10 OC Transpo strike.This one appeared online not long after Ottawa Police Association president Matt Skof posted a letter on the union's website in which he took issue with the chief's assertion that racism exists within the OPS.
"For me, it's something that is quite reprehensible. It's absolutely racist," said César Ndéma-Moussa, president of advocacy group Roots and Culture Canada and a member of the city's community equity council, which works to improve the relationship between police and marginalized communities. "I truly am convinced the fact that Chief Sloly is Black plays a strong role in the latest ... attacks that he's been a victim of."
Video Calls and Seven Years of Telegram
No investigation confirmedIt's not clear who posted the video, or if OPS is investigating. The police service did not respond last week to a request for comment, while Skof also declined to speak about the video.
Ndéma-Moussa said he'd like to see those responsible held to account.
"The very nature of the video is to mock Chief Sloly, is to mock the very notions of systemic racism, is to mock equity, diversity and [inclusiveness]," he said.In a time when the conversation around racism is so heated, a video like this can be a step in the wrong direction, said Aisha Sherazi, a former member of the equity council.
"The chief has not said anything different to his predecessor. But unfortunately, for some reason, you know, there's a different standard being applied to his message," she said.
Two artists and an advertising company created a deepfake of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg saying things he never said, and uploaded it to Instagram. "Imagine this for a second: One man, with total control of billions of people's stolen data, all their secrets, their lives, their futures," Zuckerberg's likeness says, in the video.
Police chiefs in support
The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police also denounced the video on social media this past week.Executive director Jeff McGuire said it undermines Sloly's authority and may make it more difficult for him to do his job, especially since he's only been chief since 2019. "It was disgraceful, gutless, hateful," McGuire said.
"Going into another agency, from outside, to be the leader of that organisation can have significant challenges. When you throw things like [these] hateful, racist comments into the mix on top of it, it's actually that much more challenging."
McGuire said if an investigation takes place, he could see there being discussion about whether the video is evidence of a hate crime happening — but such a charge would have to first meet certain criteria within the Criminal Code. For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.