Toronto police chief’s comments on 2012 missing men probe anger LGBTQ community

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TORONTO — A suggestion by Toronto’s chief of police that an alleged serial killer would have been arrested sooner if the public had co-operated more with investigators has angered members of the city’s LGBTQ community.

Chief Mark Saunders said in an interview with the Globe and Mail that “nobody” came to officers with information in 2012 when police launched a special investigation into the disappearances of a several men from the city’s gay village.

Bruce McArthur, a 66-year-old self-employed landscaper, was arrested last month and faces six counts of first-degree murder — most of the alleged victims were men who had gone missing from the gay village.

Community leaders say Saunders’s comments will likely worsen the already strained relationship between police and the groups affected by McArthur’s alleged crimes, including the LGBTQ community, racial minorities, the homeless and sex workers.

Toronto city Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam, whose ward includes the gay neighbourhood, says she was “shocked” by Saunders’ remarks, and that the community was instrumental in raising awareness for the missing men.

Wong-Tam says police repeatedly told concerned community members that there was no reason to believe a serial killer was active in the area.

The Canadian Press