Defend us from police gunfire, OFL tells province

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), has been vocal about police shootings since last year’s Toronto shooting of Sammy Yatim and calls for sweeping changes to police protocols.

“How many times will we have to see the same tragedy unfold before there is a complete overhaul of the police response to crisis incidents?” said OFL President Sid Ryan. “The police mandate is to protect and serve, and that protection must be extended to everyone, including those in emotional crisis.”

“We are demanding answers about why this incident resulted in tragedy,” said Ryan, discussing the latest in Ontario police killings of mentally disturbed individuals and a more recent case in Ajax. “Who was in charge of the scene? Why didn’t officers try to de-escalate the situation before responding with deadly force? Why wasn’t a Mobile Crisis Unit called in? All of these questions allude to a systemic problem with the overall police response.”

“Only four months after the Sammy Yatim tragedy in Toronto, it appears that no lessons have been learned,” said Ryan. “It is time for Ontario’s Attorney General to impose mandatory guidelines for police training and use of de-escalation tactics so that this tragedy is never repeated. Until that happens, any community could be the next Ajax and any family could experience the MacIsaacs’ grief. It is a matter of when, not if.”