Toronto woman says she was told ‘contact mayor’ during 911 call

A Toronto woman says she is ‘livid’ after the way police handled a call with her earlier this week.

Sahar Barghian says an unknown man was standing outside the gates of her home for hours. After her father opened the gates to pick up her brother, surveillance video shown to Global News shows the suspect enter the driveway.

Barghian says the man was adamant about entering the home, but eventually left after her father told him he was going to call the police.

“The first time we called them they were very accommodating because an intruder was at our home,” Barghian said. “They said we should lock all the doors and they’re on their way.”

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However, officers never showed up. When the family called back, they say they were met with hostility by the emergency operator.

“The police officer told us to email or contact the mayor or the councillor because it’s his fault that they’re low on staff,” Barghian told Global News.

Angered by the service’s response, the North York resident took to social media app TikTok to share her story. In the video, she says “the cop was like, ‘because the intruder didn’t stab or shoot you, you’re not considered a priority.’”

The video went viral, catching the eyes of Toronto police, who posted a response.

“Hi, my name is Sean Shapiro from the Toronto police service. We saw your video and we’re very concerned. We’d love for the opportunity to speak with you further and get more information” said an officer in the video.

“We encourage anyone who is dissatisfied with the conduct with a member of the Toronto Police Service to reach out to a supervisor to discuss those concerns”

Barghian says while she’s been in touch with police and the mayor, the response has not extended beyond that both are ‘looking into it.’

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The Toronto Police Association says the force has been down 500 officers since 2010.

“Which is a lot, and unfortunately… it’s gotten bigger, so there’s more people to police,” said TPA President Jon Reid.

Reid said the force would need 400 additional officers to operate ‘smoothly.’ He also directly spoke about Barghian’s TikTok video, saying the emergency dispatcher “did a fabulous job in triaging the calls.”

“They are very, very highly trained and they do the job very well. Their job is to take in all the information that comes in through the telephone, they can actually then assign how that call will be dealt with,” he said.

Mayor John Tory commented on the matter at a press conference Thursday.

“The police have a job to serve and protect us and there are times when perhaps that response and others like it are not up to the standard that we would expect,” he said.

The mayor added, “I get other people that tell me we should spend less so it gives you an idea of my job, which is to find a balance.”

The 2023 budget will be determined in January. However, Tory expects there to be an increase.

As for Barghian, she says her trust in Toronto police has been shattered.

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“We were told since we were young that their core value is to serve and to protect our city, but they have done the exact opposite,” she told Global News.

“For a citizen to hear from an emergency responder that you would have to email the mayor when an intruder is outside your home is absolutely frightening and ridiculous.”

&© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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