On the Toronto Shooting

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Unknowntyper's picture
On the Toronto Shooting

I have been asked again and again about my thoughts on this, as perhaps many of you have. I have formulated a write up of my thoughts on the subject. I will post this below. However, I am interested in the thoughts of people here at AR. This includes our American friends as well.

I think this is an important discussion, especially in a world where morality, its origin and function are constantly analysed. Of course there is always the question of the vested use of power.



On the Toronto shooting:

Here is the thing: a teenager armed with a knife is cornered in a street car (A single teen with a close range weapon made only of sharpened metal). Multiple officers of the law (peace officers) armed with Tasers®, pepper-spray, clubs, guns, and gear blocks the only exit (A group of effectively armoured guards armed with long, medium and close-range weapons of varying technology).

This teen armed with a weapon that in all likelihood would be insufficient in a fist fight with five or more peace officers protected with vests and Tasers®, was shot at nine times and killed before being hit with a potentially non-lethal weapon. Also called into question is the apparent fact that the teen was not held at bay for some substantial time to be talked down by an official of some sort.

This is a logic argument.

Our peace officers are charged to protect and defend Canadian values and behave as representatives of Canadian society. Was the use of the weapon unnecessary? Surely, peace officers must be able to remain calm in some level of potential personal danger if they wish to be peace officers. We wilfully arm these men and women to protect us and defend us, even from ourselves. Did these peace officers fail in this task by not exhausting all measures available prior to firing a gun and killing one of us?
The peace officer used the power vested by us and may have failed to use that power to save and protect us. If this is true then that power we gave must be taken away. This is the contract between us and peace officers. We as a people must hold our protectors to high standards.

It is not a question of outright murder, this officer fired on someone posing a threat and breaking the law. But was that threat realistically high enough to warrant the immediate action and the particular use of force? And was that action a correct use of our vested power? If this officer sullied our name by misrepresenting us and or failed to protect us with the power vested in him that power should be taken from him and he should be tasked with making amends to us, the people of Canada.
Based on the current information; I believe that this power was not used in our best interest. I believe that more could have and should have been done to give a better chance for peaceful resolution. I believe that if the current information stands as the only proven account that this officer should be stripped of that power, which is a privilege not a right. I do not believe that this peace officer should be jailed. But we must make certain this is dealt with publicly and fully.

We must however wait on the evidence in full.

Criminal Code (R.S., c. C-34, s. 2.) defines a peace officer as:
c) a police officer, police constable, bailiff, constable, or other person employed for the preservation and maintenance of the public peace or for the service or execution of civil process…

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Zaphod's picture
It is very hard to say

It is very hard to say without having been there! That being said, in hindsight could things and should things have been handled differently? Probably. To be honest if your job was to serve and protect and you were well equipped to do so and you saw what looked liked a person about to possibly kill someone else what would be your most likely response. This case should definitely have external investigation and should be combed over very thoroughly as should any case where lethal force is used be it by the police or not. Perhaps there was no time to react another way, perhaps the Tasers would have posed for a greater threat to the cornered teen who could have become an otherwise innocent victim of homicide.

On another note, do I think police should be trained to be less trigger happy, sure but I actually like the whole idea of a cop having no lethal force until the emergency forces are called in. Keep in mind though, there is often a lot of stress in being in such fast paced situations where peoples lives are on the line and any decision can be the wrong one.

Unknowntyper's picture
Agreed we need to investigate

Agreed we need to investigate and know more. Regardless, the peace officer did not break the law, so discussions about incarceration etcetera are moot. But there should be discussion on our vested power, in so much as retaining these positions.

It currently seems like this was pretty easy to at the very least wait out if not stand back and rely on the Tasers or something.

I will wait and see myself. And try to be fair in my judgement.

Trevor's picture
I think that the force was

I think that the force was excesive but there have been cases when police have even had guns and an extremely violent person has killed a few of them with a knife. All of this for not reacting fast enough to shoot the guy.A trained police officer would never let things escalate to that point, but in this particular case they did react too fast it seems.

mysticrose's picture
They can shoot the teenager

They can shoot the teenager on parts of his body like legs and hands where in he can still survive. Anyway, we can't really judge the situation because we're not there. I hope this case would be given significant investigation and clarification.

Walker's picture
I agree with trevor that the

I agree with trevor that the police have seen many of their coworkers get killed for asuming that the criminals wont try to kill them. This world is filled with very dangerous people and if you are dumb enough to keep holding a knife when the police are pointing at you, then something is probably very wrong with you in the first place.

Unknowntyper's picture
Upon further investigation it

Upon further investigation it does seem that this was too excessive. The other officers are walking about around, not on guard, not on high alert. And there seems to be a lot of time to talk, or use the Taser first. No attempt was made. And the pause after three shots for six more shots. I am leaning more so to heavy punishment for the peace officer. It sure looks like he abused his power and failed the people.

Trevor's picture
I think criminals in general

I think criminals in general should be punished more severely, but there are cases when it could be excessive, this one could be one of those cases. I stick to my initial comment though.

Unknowntyper's picture
I largely agree Trevor. I

I largely agree Trevor. I must say that suspension and possibly some other fine or service may be just, but not imprisonment. We may need to change the law, but as it stands the officer shot an armed individual breaking the law. Sadly the excessive force caused an necessary death, and it is wrong and it is a shame, but it was not murder according to the law.

SammyShazaam's picture
REading this, I want to move

REading this, I want to move to Canada. When those things happen in the US, they are not considered news at all. We don't have "peace officers" we have police officers. Nothing peaceful about that.

Right now in California, you are just as likely to die by police gunfire as you are from a drive by shooting, even in (especially in) the worst neighborhoods.

I am truly sorry for that poor kid in Toronto, that should never have happened, and it shouldn't be taken lightly. I wish America would follow suit and watch how Canada is doing things, rather than Canada following America's lead into a police state.

Zaphod's picture
I would consider moving to

I would consider moving to Canada with you if it was warmer there! lets revisit this when the poles shift!

mattyn's picture
As a victim of borderline

As a victim of borderline police abuse, I say that they went too far. It was a cowardly act on their part and they should be charged with a crime. Too many times, police forces hire scared individuals who would rather shoot first than get into an altercation.

SammyShazaam's picture
The whole thing may indeed

The whole thing may indeed have been an accident, but I strongly agree the the officers in violation should be charged with whatever applies, be it manslaughter or whatever. They are citizens first, and officers second, and should be held to the laws that they enforce.

Where I am, too many of them walk away with outright murder.

ginamoon's picture
There are really cases that

There are really cases that authorities actions towards such events just make the situation worst. It ends up with more casualties, if approach was just better, it could have been avoided and there might be better results that what had happened.

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