In The Headlines: Sammy Yatim Shooting

In the wee hours of Saturday July 27…

The lid of the pressure cooker that has been boiling in this City for years, finally blew.

As most of you know Sammy Yatim was killed by Toronto Police Const. James Forcillo during a brief standoff with police. An investigation is on the way by the SIU and Bill Blair has reached out to the family regarding the incident.

Peoples outrage was inflamed by a video of the incident showing the officer firing nine shots at Sammy, while he stood on the Streetcar holding a 3 inch knife.

People lined the street calling the police murderers and killers and Marched in protest calling for:

People march in Protest of the Police Shooting of Sammy Yatim

People march in Protest of the Police Shooting of Sammy Yatim

And I can safely say that this incident is a Tragedy because a young man who was clearly disturbed at the moment was killed,

But like I said the incident caused the lid to blow of an already boiling pot that was bubbling in this city.

A pot of mistrust and hostility towards the police…

To many people this incident spoke to a larger belief that the police have gone rouge and are no longer out to protect the public, but instead are playing out a game of cowboys and Indians. I believe that many who latched on to this incident are basing their rage on incomplete facts and would go so far as to say that most of the people who took to the streets really weren’t there for Sammy.

But why would I say that… mainly because many are basing their anger on personal bias.

We have all seen the video but much of the facts are not known; Much of the information regarding the reason for shooting Sammy is not exactly known, Not much is known for why there was 9 shots taken at Sammy. Many have not been updated on whether or not police procedures were violated. So to outright condemn the Const. Forcillo and to a larger extent the police is extremely premature.

So that leads to the anger based on personal bias… Much of what has fed peoples anger has been peoples own perceptions (real or perceived) of police dealings with the public. They feel that the police have become gun happy (when in actuality the amount of gun related deaths at the hands of police since 2008 is 15, of which all but 1 was deemed self defense). They speculate based on urban myths of police taking people to the bluffs so that they can be roughed up (a fact that is largely unproven). And many base their hatred on visions of a racist police force that is perpetuated by many within several minority communities and by what they see in the United States.

But what does this truly have to do with young Mr. Yatim, how does this honor his life. In fact many of those out there yelling and cursing the police have not even honored the Yatim family. This family going through what must be one of the hardest times in their life has publicly stated that they believe in the police and condemn those who would disparage the police. They realize that this incident as tragic as it is, is not indicative of the police as a whole.

Now this is not to say that the police have been perfect and that there may not have been some violations of procedures and that the police may have to approach things differently but this tragic incident is not a soapbox for every Tom, Dick and Susie to air their personal manifestations of how are police are.

This is a tragedy and the memory of Sammy Yatim should be honored with the civility and dignity of the Yatim family, so that if real changes are needed they can be discussed in earnest.

Most of all I pray that his family find healing in this time of tragedy and that Sammy’s soul is at peace with God.


Posted on August 8, 2013, in Politics, Race and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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