Toronto police say they are investigating allegations that a Twitter account featuring anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim tweets may have belonged to a parking enforcement officer.
“We appreciate this account being brought to our attention and it will be forwarded to Professional Standards for consideration,” said Const. Scott Mills, a social media specialist with the Toronto Police Service.
The account was first outed by Kyle Ashley, a former parking enforcement officer who is now a cycling advocate. Ashley links the page to Scott Murphy — a former colleague of his — who worked in the Church and Wellesley area, also known as Toronto’s Gay Village, and Regent Park, a neighbourhood with a large immigrant population.
“It does concern me that he has the ability to distribute punitive measure at his own whims because officers always have discretion,” Ashley said in an interview with CBC Toronto.
Ashley previously made headlines himself as an outspoken parking enforcement officer known for taking on some of the city’s most notorious bike lane blockers.
“Its disheartening to know that the people who enforce our laws and are meant to protect us hold these kinds of vitriolic beliefs,” he said.
The Twitter account, belonging to a Scott Murphy, has since been deleted, but screenshots showing the targeted comments remain posted to Ashley’s Twitter page.
The Toronto Police association say they are aware of the investigation but won’t comment. Scott Murphy has not responded to CBC Toronto’s request for comment.
“The Police Services Act and our own procedures and standards of conduct guide what is acceptable use of social media,” Mills explained. “Even in a member’s private capacity, we cannot bring the Service into disrepute.”