A criminal suspended with pay! Where are the authorities and the putrid Justice System?
The recorded images on board surveillance cameras from the “TTC”, could prove the police allegations. Public executions committed by the police continue to occur across the country. The atrocious killing of Sammy Yatim, by the Toronto police, caused public outrage in the Canadian public, especially when the video tapes from the execution were reviewed. Nine shots were fired by a cop who was trained to kill without mercy, in a boy who showed, never intended to hurt or kill anybody, to complete the massacre, other cop, tasered the dying Sammy. Now the people from around the world are aware how the Canadian government gives green light to the police force and other institutions, which often do harm to their own citizens. We hope that, this murder committed by the police, must have to be investigated for an independent agency, as well by the Canadian government. Who could bring to justice the author or authors of this vile crime?
Toronto Star August 3, 2013
An unnecessary death
I have been an RN since 1979. In 34 years I have read too many reports of yet another shooting of someone with emotional instability. That list is in my head. In 1992 one of my own patients was shot dead by police. I knew it should not have happened, but I did not see it.
This is different. Through video we all saw and heard the nine bullets fired at 18-year-old Sammy Yatim while he stood in that streetcar doorway. Stood, not bolted, not lunged nor charged. We heard his body tasered as he lay dying, if not already dead. I felt like I was watching an execution.
We all know what has to change. Inquest after inquest has already told us. It has to stop and it has to stop now.
Anne-Marie Haynes, Toronto
How can a police officer in the company of 20 other officers, dressed in a bullet-proof vest and armed with a 13-shot handgun possibly feel threatened by a single young man inside a streetcar and “armed” with only a pen knife?
If he was close enough to deploy a taser, why was that not his first line of attack? More than a tragic shooting, this was nothing short of irresponsible manslaughter.
Since the police have obviously been trained to kill rather than simply disable their target, perhaps it’s time to restrict their arsenal to rubber bullets or single shot revolvers. Even better would be to train Chief Bill Blair’s officers to act like civilized British Bobbies.
Don Macmillan, Oakville
Your July 29 headline says it all: “Was there nothing else that could be done to save his life?” The answer is of course “yes.” A non-violent solution could have been found to save his life. This young man, ironically, recently arrived from Syria, did not need to die on the Dundas streetcar. He was basically unarmed and contained and a threat to no one.
The old adage “the cops are tops” does not always apply. Think of the G20. Cops are human and fallible and they make mistakes and some of them are trigger happy. It’s time to disarm the police or at least take away their immediate access to deadly force. Sometimes a Taser or a gun is required because there is no other way, but it’s extremely rare. Generally most situations can be resolved non-violently.
Andrew van Velzen, Toronto
Police can and must do better. This tragedy may have been avoided by the police saying to the distraught fellow: “I see you’re troubled, let’s talk about it.” Perhaps the whole force needs some retraining, soon.
Frank Sommers, Toronto
I only have one question for our Crown attorneys: What would be the outcome if a citizen, in attempting to make a citizens arrest, had acted in the same manner this police officer did?
Charles Evans, Toronto
Disgraceful, outrageous, reprehensible. Several recent cases of police officers involved in questionable conduct being “suspended with pay.” Please someone, suspend me. Pretty please.
Arnold Ceballos, Collingwood
I believe in the justice system. Unfortunately those entitled to enact it raise questions as to their abilities. As to the police, my question is: Why you don’t disarm someone with either a shot to the arm or leg?
Derek Bampton, Toronto
Arkansas teachers trained to use arms, July 31
I was very distressed by this article. Imagine the possibilities for tragic impulsive shootings caused by a staff member or a student who might gain access to one of these firearms. This week Toronto is reeling after the senseless shooting of a teenager by a police officer, a person supposedly trained to know when to use a hand gun. It is just a matter of time.
Julia Bowkun, Toronto
A shooting in a home in Montreal ended up with proper tactics being used and no loss of life. The man who had a gun was taken down by rubber bullets and not killed.
In Toronto we have a teenager with a knife and who seems to pose no apparent danger except to himself on an empty streetcar. Police shoot at him nine times and then he is Tasered and ends up dead.
I guess the Toronto police should have the Montreal police come up and train them in proper procedures on this type of situation.
The officer who shot this young man should be terminated as he is not capable of good judgment in bad confrontations. He makes the rest of the force look bad and I am sure there are more like him that should not be wearing a gun.
William Arsenault, Napanee
I think what we’re seeing is the failure of our police force to recognize desensitization in their young officers. These young officers grew up on Rambo and Die Hard fantasies saturated in manufactured violence. After years of exposure clearly they can’t reason for themselves when faced with real danger.
The cops of old should clearly see this. We’ve created a force that’s not in touch with our reality.
Richard Kadziewicz, Scarborough
Policing is a very difficult job. Daily they deal with problems caused by poverty and underfunding of mental health initiatives, problems often ignored by politicians and by most of us, the voters who elect them.
Police need counseling and support, too, and a change in the culture of policing. Policing needs to attract conciliators, not just tough guys — women and men who are courageous enough to talk about work stresses. We also need a change in the Mafia-like culture of secrecy and rank-closing around officers suspected of criminal acts.
In addition to hiring more from visible minority communities, what about having a majority of women represented in our police forces? It couldn’t hurt. Women are strong in ways that many burly men are not.
Douglas Buck, Toronto
I had a disturbed night thinking about what I saw during the assassination of that young teenager by police, especially in the security camera of the building broadcast later. Six bullets in a prone body; probably already dead. Reminded me of the old days when we witnessed movies of crime lords and Mafioso machin gunning their victims mercilessly.
As a member of the proud invisible minority, I dread even the mere thought of any contact with a member of the police force for even the most innocent of reasons.
Emanuel D. Samuel, North York
I watched the footage of the death of young Sammy Yatim and found myself seething with anger. However my anger is not directed at the police. It is directed at the protests against the police, the shouting in their faces, the smashing of private property, all of it.
Every day our police officers see the worst our society has to offer. It’s a brutal job and these brave men and women stand between us and evil.
Before we try and convict anyone how about a moment of sober thought and allow the unbiased investigation to take place.
Michael D. Gadway, Petawawa
Suspended with pay for killing an unarmed man? I don’t think so. These are my tax dollars paying this cop and I say “No.” I’m ashamed to be a Torontonian after this.
Scary, crazy, mindboggling, nuts. And some.
Diane Walton, Toronto
Another killing on Toronto streets. This time, however, the individuals are police. Their motto is to “Serve and Protect.” I’m sick of euphemisms. I’m sick of police killing people.
Alan Trufal, Etobicoke
Tuesday’s Star defines EDPs as emotionally disabled persons. The modified term should be emotionally discharging policemen for their frequency and love of discharging their firearms without any emotion.
As for the SIU, they are a bunch of toothless bulldogs who never find the cops guilty. I challenge them to open their records for and against the cops.
Shafic Kara, Markham
Because it is a given that police who kill or injure people will go virtually unpunished, the public should at least be given the name and the photograph of any policemen whose actions are the subject of SIU investigations. If their actions are that reprehensible, public shunning might be the only real punishment they receive.
Karin Brothers, Toronto
A young man wields a knife at no one in the empty confines of a streetcar only to be fatally felled by a score of police bullets. It is little wonder that the Star is saying that he did not have to die.
Yet what is disturbing is that the outcome might well have been different had there been two or three officers at most trying to apprehend the young man including a counselor to talk him down, as the Star suggests.
Is what we are dealing with here instead a kind of pack mentality that can both wrongly telegraph imminent danger when there is none and of the urgent need to extinguish it? Why is it, as the Star alludes, there was not a more moderate approach that would address those specific circumstances? Why employ unnecessary force when there was no need?
Where above all was leadership that allowed this takedown to happen in this fashion? Disturbing questions these are. Not only of what went wrong but of what can be done to repair what seems a badly tattered safety net that should be there for everyone.
Claude McDonald, Kitchener
Canada no longer has the death penalty — at least officially. We do, however, have execution by firing squad. It seems that anytime the police feel threatened by someone with a small knife, they will feel free to blast away at that person in a public place and then administer a coup de grace on the bullet-riddled body with a Taser.
Have death squads now come to Canada? Is this the level our police have sunk to? What next? Blast with massed firepower someone who uses a nail file in public, perhaps on a park bench?
Maybe it’s time to put the Toronto Police Service under administration by an outside body. We could then re-structure this quasi-military force in our midst so that it’s brought more into line with genuine Canadian values.
Robyn Peterson, Toronto
Nine shots to kill a boy. Before they ever strap on a gun-belt our police force should be trained, skilled marksmen. Nothing less is acceptable. Those guns should be drawn only to disable and not to kill, and only when they, or the community they have sworn to serve and protect, are in jeopardy.
Joan Joseph, Cambridge
Toronto police must stop watching American cop shows. Surely a trained policeman could have dealt with this kid without killing him. I am sure even an out-of-shape senior like myself could have disarmed him with a broomstick.
Tasers were available, they could have been used before all those bullets started flying endangering others.
Ken Hedger, Cambridge
The persistent killing of innocents just because they have mental health issues and the cowardice on the part of the government and the justice system to stem this horror shows very clearly that the justice system and the government are complicit and have abrogated their responsibility to protect the public from the police as they have given the police carte blanche to set the agenda.
These killings are not random and the result of overzealous cops but the direct result of training and protocol that gives cops the right to shoot and kill first before being supposedly killed.
The police and their unions demand the right to train and set protocol as they see fit brooking no interference from the government or the judicial system, let alone the public. This has to change.
It is a travesty and it will lead to more bloodshed. This has turned this society into a de-facto police state, because there is no higher authority over life and death than the cops.
Bogos Kalemkiar, Toronto
This officer is a trigger-happy cowbay and should be fired and charged with murder.
Markus Humby, Burlington
You know, anywhere in the world you wave a knife at the police, it’s called “suicide by cop.” Not sure why Toronto is so outraged this time. Is it because while the police have been issued Tasers as a substitute for lethal force in such situations? One has to wonder when they will actually do so.
D. Nelson, Vancouver
I am puzzled. Does a Toronto Police Services officer not receive training on (a) how to disarm a man wielding a small knife, or (b) how to use a firearm to disable (aim below the waistline), but not inflict a potentially fatal injury on a suspect? It is hard to escape the suspicion that a “shoot to kill” culture prevails among TPS officers?
Kassim Ebrahim, Thornhill
One knife, nine shots, one Taser and a dead 18-year-old. All we get from Chief Bill Blair is a police officer suspended with pay. The SIU should submit their report no later than a month and recommend stiff action be taken against the guilty. The chief should follow through and take immediate action. This is a stark reminder of the high handedness showed by Toronto police during the G20 summit in 2010. Enough is enough.
Aquil Ali, Toronto
A conundrum. A Toronto police officer can use lethal force when legally warranted. Is it possible for a Toronto police officer to use excessive lethal force?
Paul Tedesco, Toronto
To what extent is this death an outcome from the lack of control of, or true repercussions to police officers, from that bad G20 weekend?
Hamish Wilson, Toronto
On the front page on July 29 is the story of a young man in a conflictual situation, killed on a street car by a dozen or so police officers. It appears they fired nine shots in thirteen seconds. On the back page of the same section is the story of how to live with raccoons. To quote Nathalie Karvoven; “We would absolutely never offer up killing an animal for a conflict situation as a solution.”
To deal with the pesky raccoons, it ends with; “All you have to do is be a little bit patient.” Just something to think about.
Michele Lavin, Owen Sound
As many, I am again shocked, but not surprised, at yet another police shooting. I do not believe that these incidents are “one-offs,” or that it is one bad apple officer who abuses the law. I believe it is a matter of police policy and police training. The whole way in which police are trained needs a major overall, otherwise such horrors will happen again.
Peter Voth, Ajax
Words cannot express my rage at worsening police brutality and arrogance in this city. No amount of PR from Bill Blair will erase the shame on them and the contempt I feel about their actions and arrogance repeated in many ways especially since the G20.
I suggest that we let police know that we are looking at them by making eye contact with each “officer” that comes into view, and holding the gaze until they look away.
Eva Saphir, Toronto
From personal experience, Toronto police officers are well meaning, honest persons, who do a very dangerous job under some times extremely challenging circumstances.
However, given events in the last few years, five questions arise about police officers:
1) Are they properly trained to deal with different circumstances that arise?
2) Are all officers always physically fit to deal with their duties effectively?
3) Are they always mentally and emotionally ready to confront the situations they deal with?
4) Does anyone verify the fitness for duty of an individual police officer on an ongoing basis?
5) And if they are found not fit are they taken off active duty?
Miguel Prohaska, Toronto
Until the Toronto police learn they are accountable, our children and public will continue to be at risk. My advice: stay out of Toronto and especially stay away from the Toronto police.
Steve General, McDoughall
After reading the sickening and tragic story about Sammy Yatim I have only one thing to say: Toronto police are nothing but thugs.
Jeff Green, Toronto
I am not a fan of the NRA but perhaps they could give Toronto police some lessons on how nine bullets are not needed to kill one man. They might suggest a young man alone on a bus with both exits guarded by police didn’t even need one bullet.
L. Striemer, Toronto
My horror at reading about the police murder of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim was only made worse by the video. To see the teenager standing alone on a streetcar, facing the guns of surrounding police, before being taken down by one of their bullets is blood chilling.
Have the police learned nothing since the killings of Michael Eligon, Charlie McGillivary, or Edmond Yu?
This boy could be anybody’s son, brother, and friend. He belongs to us all. He is a symbol of our city’s grief and shame. As citizens we must stand with the Yatim family and demand accountability from the Toronto Police Service. The murder of this young man represents an indefensible act of violence for which they must answer.
Kathleen Morris, Toronto
No more excuses for cops shooting people to death. Wake up, Canada. Our police think they are above the law. We must show them, they are not.
Sandra Cowley, Scarborough
Those of us who approve of photographing police actions should whip out our cellphones and point, in support of anyone else who is recording the event, whether we have a built in camera or not. There will be instances where the video confirms the officer’s statement as well as those where it shows the opposite.
Hugh Jones, Toronto
This report is very upsetting. It sounds a great deal like the killing of Edmond Yu.
Sarah Shartal, Toronto
How many more citizens must be killed before we finally figure out that the Toronto police force must, repeat, must be stripped of the right to carry firearms?
John Mares, North York
I read that George Zimmerman couldn’t get onto any the of police forces he applied for in the U.S. Maybe he should try out for Toronto’s finest.
Karen Brown, Toronto