TORONTO — Toronto’s police chief said Monday multiple investigations are looking into the circumstances surrounding the police shooting of an armed man in an empty streetcar that was caught on video.
The shooting, posted on YouTube, has sparked outrage in Canada’s largest city, with some calling it unnecessary police force.
Video shows Sammy Yatim, 18, holding a knife inside the streetcar with police outside. Yatim goads police while officers yell: “Drop your knife!” Shortly after, three shots are fired. After a pause, six more shots are fired. A Taser is also later used on Yatim.
Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit is examining the early Saturday morning shooting. The SIU says Yatim died from multiple gunshot wounds.
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said he’s seen the video and is conducting a parallel investigation. He said he understands the public’s concern.
“I have viewed the video. I recognize there is a need for answers,” Blair said.
Mark Mendelson, a former Toronto police detective, said investigators have the benefit of the video which “doesn’t lie.”
“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,” Mendelson said.
Mendelson also noted there are numerous civilian witnesses and at least two video angles of the shooting including security camera footage.
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