Warning – obscene language in the introductory paragraph immediately below and elsewhere in this post.
“There were also eight to 11 cops at the front door (of the streetcar) at one point… Not sure of the threat the victim posed to the public… The (several) ‘you’re a fucking pussy’ taunts came shortly before the first three shots… If public safety was a concern, then there were no officers focused on containing the scene and moving away bystanders until after the shooting… Little effort was made to secure the rear door.” – Witness Markus Grupp, who saw and recorded the entire sequence of events on his smart-phone, quoted in the Toronto Sun.
So, we have a mouthy teenager holding a small knife, a dozen or so cops, with nine shots being fired into the kid followed by the use of a Tazer. If this event doesn’t result in an impartial review of police attitudes, culture and training, then nothing will.
A first-class constable earns just about exactly twice the average wage, and I expect them to have more professionalism than to fire nine shots at an isolated kid holding a small knife. And if they can’t do the job with less than nine shots from a .40 calibre Glock, they need some serious marksmanship training or better guns.
It is too early to make any precise determinations, and I want to see what the province’s Special Investigative Unit has to say about this.
The SIU likely won’t get much co-operation from the police, but the Grupp film will be of considerable assistance, and I think that one pivotal determination will revolve around the female constable who was standing by the shooter with no apparent concern for her safety immediately prior to the shots actually being fired.
The suspicion will be that the teenager was killed simply for calling the officer a “fucking pussy”. There is no doubt in my mind that using that kind of language on someone who has a gun is not the brightest of moves, but a professional police officer who is sufficiently unstable as to shoot to kill over such language is ready for the rubber-gun squad, in my opinion.
$90,000 a year for a first-class constable should buy us far better service than that. And, what are we doing that allows a five-year immigrant from Syria to have that kind of attitude towards the police, and thus towards us?
As I have said before, a lot of the problems with Canadian police attitudes and behaviour towards the public arise from there being far too many American cop shows on TV, and this increasingly prevalent attitude that “officer safety” trumps civil and human rights.
Police in the States now routinely shoot and kill family pets, usually dogs, often in front of children. As dogs can be expected to be wary of strangers and to protect their owner’s property, one might think that the police would warn the occupants to secure their pets before entering, but that seems to be too much like hard work for them.
Recently in Oshawa, several innocent residents of a rooming house were ordered by the police to come out of the house with their hands over their heads because of one suspect inside, and a while ago some 30 or so customers in a Durham Region restaurant were required to file out one after the other, hands on their heads, and then “surrender” to the police by lying down on the sidewalk, because the police thought someone they wanted was in there.
Three years ago, the Toronto police abandoned several of their cruisers to the mob in the name of “officer safety”, then the next day when they had sufficient numbers to ensure success, they “kettled” and arrested over 1,000 people for no apparent good reason.
What an disgusting exhibition.
There are many other concerns with the police, such as their mindless acquiescence to “politically-correct” policies and the establishment of numerous feel-happy “hate crimes units” right across the country, but my immediate concern is the potentially-lethal threat they can pose to the average citizen.
I want to know more about this incident before writing further on it, but the sad fact is that I am not inclined to believe a word the Toronto police have to say in their own defence. They have a history of protecting each other, they routinely lie to that end, and they also falsify their notebooks, often with legal assistance paid for by the police association.
And the provincial attorney-general bows to them sufficiently that I wonder if the police haven’t taken a page out of J. Edgar Hoover’s book and started compiling dossiers of embarrassing information about politicians in order to get their own way.
As I have said before, when a conservatively-minded senior like me begins to regard the police as the enemy, there is a serious problem.
The following articles each link to the Grupp video:
The Toronto Sun’s Joe Warmington here.
The Toronto Star’s Rosie DiManno here.