08/01/2013 02:14 EDT | Updated 10/01/2013 05:12 EDT

Editorials and commentary on the shooting by Toronto police of Sammy Yatim

The Toronto police shooting of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim, which was captured on cellphone and surveillance video, has sparked a protest march and public outrage over police use of force. Newspaper editorials and broadcast commentaries have weighed in on the controversy. Here are some excerpts:


We're watching

The Cape Breton Post, Editorial, July 30, 2013:

... The ubiquity of devices capable of taking photos and video footage especially smartphones is often viewed as negative. But the prevalence of smartphones also has a positive side, in that an incident of excessive force by anyone is likely to be recorded, especially if it occurs in public. That's the new normal. Police officers perform a vital service, upholding the law. And their work is potentially dangerous. As such, they are endowed with certain functions and tools which place them in a position of relative power. Sometimes that power is abused or misused. Amateur video of the shooting of Sammy Yatim will help investigators determine if that was the case in Toronto early Saturday morning.

For the complete editorial:



Sammy Yatim cellphone videos fight police abuse of power: Editorial

Toronto Star, Editorial, July 31, 2013:

... Video made it obvious that there was no compelling need for an officer to open fire on the teenager (Sammy Yatim) when he did. A crowd of police was clearly shown confronting one skinny youth, standing alone on an empty streetcar. And footage captured the sickening pop-pop-pop of police gunfire as nine shots (nine!) were discharged, pointlessly followed by the buzz of a taser. Video made it impossible to dismiss Yatim's death as another sad but understandable case of an officer compelled to administer deadly force.

For the complete editorial:



Jumping to conclusions on police

NewsTalk 1010 radio, Toronto, Jerry Agar's blog, July 29, 2013:

Hatred of the police is on ugly parade in Toronto. Meanwhile, armchair warriors, so brave from the comfort and safety of their homes, assure us they could take down a knife-wielding young man with their bare hands....Cops in this city are being referred to as murderers. I am not defending or indicting the police. If the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) determines one or more officers broke the law, I want charges to be brought....But rushing to judgment, as so many are, is simply wrong.

For the full commentary:



Sammy Yatim: The questions for the police

The Globe and Mail, Editorial, July 30, 2013:

... The public has learned that Mr. Yatim was a teenager born in Syria who emigrated to Canada with his family. His friends wonder why he was alone that night and so far away from his home across the city. They worry that he was lost and somehow disoriented. They cannot understand why he pulled a knife, exposed himself and ordered the passengers and driver off the streetcar, as witnesses have said. And even if that is true, they can t understand why he had to die for it. Could the police have shut the streetcar's doors from the outside and waited for Mr. Yatim to calm down? Could they have backed away and established a safe perimeter while trying to de-escalate the situation? And why nine shots?

For the complete editorial:



`We deserve an answer'

Talk Radio AM640, Toronto, Jeff McArthur commentary, July 29, 2013:

I want to know why this officer had to shoot nine separate times and then a tasing had to happen ....I think we deserve to know why. And again, this is not to question police, or to be criticizing them .... One of the things I loath to do is to armchair quarterback police; because we haven't walked a mile in their boots ...; we don't know what it's like. One thing I do know is that if you're a law enforcement professional, you don't let the situation take control of you, you control the situation.

For more from Talk Radio AM640:



Troubling questions about police shooting

Halifax Chronicle Herald, Editorial, July 31, 2013:

... Clearly, the police in Toronto and elsewhere have a tough job. But Vancouver's (Robert) Dziekanski case and the (Sammy) Yatim killing in Toronto this week _ both brought into our living rooms with horrifying clarity _ inevitably lead some to wonder how frequently police use much greater force than necessary.

For the full editorial: