Former Toronto Police Detective Calls Officer’s Shooting of Teen, which was Caught on Video, “Excessive Force”

By Davy V.

Excessive force.

That’s what a former Toronto, Canada Police detective is calling the shooting of 18-year old Sammy Yatim, by a Toronto police officer.

Yatim was holding a knife inside an empty streetcar early Saturday, when several police officers yelled “Drop your knife!”

A few seconds later, three shots are heard.

Then, six more shots.

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) said Yatim died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Tony Vella, a Toronto Police spokesman said that the officer who shot and killed Yatim, has been suspended with pay.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, who saw the video, said he understands the public’s concern over the shooting, and is also conducting an investigation into the shooting.

“I recognize there is a need for answers,” Blair said.

Mark Mendelson, a former Toronto Police detective said something I have never heard a current, or former law enforcement official say, when it comes to the power of video.

Mendelson said that investigators have the benefit of video, which “doesn’t lie.”

Mendelson went on to say, “If you look at it on its face value at this point, it’s not hard to come to the conclusion that excessive force was used.”

Outrage over the shooting led hundreds, including Yatim’s mother and sister, to take to the streets Monday, in a march calling for justice for Yatim, as well as an end to police violence.

Protesters shouted “Shame!”, and some even confronted police officers who were monitoring the march.

Sammy Yatim’s uncle, Jim Yatim said Sammy was born to Canadian parents in Syria and came to Canada, to live with his father five years ago.

He said no one ever had anything negative to say about Sammy’s character.

In an email to the Associated Press, Jim Yatim writes, “A tragedy has happened, and there is no undoing of what has occurred, the kid is dead. Shot down in a senseless act of one-upmanship, a trigger happy cop, a loud mouthed teen, and boom.”

Yatim’s email goes on to say, “My family and I have paid the ultimate price.”


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Davy V.

Davy V. is a Cuban-American Filmmaker, Video Producer, Photographer and Freelance Writer, best known for using the power of video and film to expose Police Brutality, Corruption and Misconduct. The son of the late Mario Vara, a community activist who for years fought against Police Brutality and Misconduct in Rochester, New York, Davy V. got his start in Television and Video by tagging along and working camera for his father's cable access television show, "La Voz Del Pueblo" (The Voice of The People). Davy V. later went on to produce and host "KEEP IT ON THE REEL", a cable access TV show with a mix of Hip Hop as well as issues affecting African-Americans and Latinos in Rochester, NY, such as Police Brutality and Misconduct. Some guests on the show included Treach, KayGee and Vinnie of Naughty by Nature, Method Man, Funkdoobiest, Da Youngstas, and the Rottin' Razkals. Davy V. won the U.S. ACM Video Festival Award for his Documentary, "R.P.D. EXPOSED!" about the Rochester, New York Police Department and their long history of misconduct, corruption and unnecessary killings of unarmed innocent citizens. "R.P.D. EXPOSED!" and Davy V.'s follow up, "R.P.D.: Badges of DISHONOR, CORRUPTION and MURDER!" were both screened at the National Hip Hop Political Convention at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. Davy V.'s work has been featured in publications such as THE SOURCE Hip Hop Magazine, URBAN AMERICA Magazine, The Ave. Magazine, Insider Magazine, La Voz Newspaper, Minority Reporter Newspaper, CNY LATINO Newspaper, DOWN Magazine, as well as on television news stations, and programs such as CNN and Inside Edition. In addition to his freelance writing, Davy V. also writes a monthly Op/Ed Column for LA VOZ Magazine and Minority Reporter Newspaper. In June 2012, Davy V. joined Cop Block as a regular contributor.