Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Forcillo had options other than shooting to kill

I completely admit that I am an arm-chair quarterback on policing and public safety issues. That’s what I do, but I do so following a 36 year career in policing, including a number of years engaged in or overseeing OPP tactical operations at the provincial level.

Despite having strong opinions on the July 27, 2013 fatal shooting of Sammy Yatim by Toronto Police Service Constable James Forcillo from the moment the YouTube video appeared, I did not publicly pass judgment for obvious reasons. I wasn’t there, did not attend the trial, but did follow the reported evidence very closely. However the lengthy and passionate trial is now over – pending appeals and motions, and the jury has made their difficult decision, so fasten your seatbelt.

No police officer in this country dons their uniform hoping to take a life over the course of their shift. Much to the contrary. They are sworn to protect life and property and do so very well, despite constant criticism from the vocal minority and a growing feeling that they are unappreciated by many.

Certainly some officers are more inclined to unnecessarily use force than others – including deadly force, however they are thankfully but a few. The vast majority of Canadian and U.S. police officers are honest, committed and brave public servants that want no part of taking a life, OR the investigation, scrutiny and feelings of isolation the entire process will bring them if they do. Regardless, at times they must. Through his or her actions, the suspect most often dictates the amount of force that the police must respond with. At least that is how it should be.  (more...)

Further reflections:

How to recruit a killer:

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