Veteran Civil Rights Lawyer Charles Roach Dies at 79


Toronto activist Charles Roach lost his long battle with brain cancer Tuesday, dying at the age of 79.

Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Roach came to Canada 50 years ago but never became a Canadian citizen because he refused to swear fealty to the Queen.

Roach had a strong impact in Toronto in the late 70s and 80s when a series of police shootings involving black people brought attention to police conduct toward minorities. His protests paved the way for the emergence of Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit, which examines police-civilian interactions in which death or serious injury occurs.
The civil rights lawyer was also a leader in developing Caribana, Toronto’s annual African-Canadian celebration, now called the Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival.

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