Slaughter of Sammy shows huge defects in city policing

Frank Touby — 

The willful slaughter of Sammy Yatim, executed by Frank Touby Editor deareditor@thebulletin.ca a cop on “the job” just 3.5-years, highlights what a poorly trained and mismanaged police force Toronto has.

We deserve a whole lot better. Much as we’d hope our cops are tops, the miserable, deadly truth is: overall, they’re not.That’s not to say we don’t have a goodly number of real pros on “the job.”
We do have. But they seemingly weren’t there when Sammy was needlessly gunned down by a guy not far from his rookie year on the force.Or if they were there, they didn’t intervene.

James Forcillo, as you already know, wasn’t the first cop on the scene.
He showed up while a clusterfuck was forming with cops arriving from all around.
In less than a minute after showing up, he drew his gun as is his habit—judging from his past proclivity to pull a pistol frequently—and started yelling commands and threats.

Anyone who has seen the video has to wonder who the hell was this guy walking up, yelling at the kid and blasting away when there were other cops already on the scene, none with weapons drawn.
Was he a sergeant or higher ranking officer?
Nope. Just another ordinary guy on the job.

It was obvious that Yatim wasn’t a threat to anyone by the time Forcillo slaughtered him.
But Forcillo made his presence known within seconds after arriving and quickly opening fire.
The intent to kill was obvious. The first shots were effective at rendering the kid dead.
Forcillo’s first blasts hit the kid in his heart and cut his spine.
Yatim couldn’t have used that small knife against anyone competent enough to be a Toronto police officer—at least it’s our hope that anyone who’s a Toronto cop can handle such a situation, especially when surrounded by other cops who would give support.

There were enough cops on the scene that availability of cops wasn’t an issue.
But it’s what they didn’t do that condemns the department’s actions.
They didn’t budge when Forcillo started his rant.
There was no concerted effort to disarm the kid or to ameliorate the situation which no longer presented a threat to anyone.

Yatim was alone in the streetcar. Coppers were all around.
Yet one thug with a badge shot him to death.
Why were the cops on the scene not co-ordinating their actions and strategizing to bring a non-violent end to that situation?
It’s likely that after a lot of tax money has been spent paying Forcillo for not working as he appeals his conviction and for lawsuits brought by Yatim’s family, the inevitably ex-cop will be behind bars.
He has the support of an organization that shouldn’t exist: the police labour union.
No armed force should have a labour union.

The Canadian Armed Forces don’t have one. Toronto’s armed police force shouldn’t either and it must be dismantled. It’s up to the police chain of command to command, not to advocate for rank-and-file cops.
The Police Service Board should make most rules, not the command structure.

Along with thoroughly honourable people, policing attracts thugs, sociopaths and psychopaths.
It is not merely a job.
It is a sacred trust that society requires be served by those who understand and accept that trust: to serve and protect everyone.

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