No more time for debate. Now I am outraged! [Toronto police shooting]

Yesterday, I started a Great Debates thread on whether we should expect police to show courage in the discharge of their duties. I asked whether I was naive in even wondering.

My GD thread was based on an incident that happened a few days ago in Toronto, where I live. Specifically, an 18-year old, armed with a 3-inch knife, weighing about 110 pounds, was alone on a trolley car. No civilians were inside with him and the police, maybe eight or ten of them, were all outside the car. With their Glocks drawn and aimed at him.

For reasons unclear in this video of the incident (which I suggest watching on ‘full screen’), the cops suddenly opened fire on the ‘kid’ (I call 18-year-olds kids). After their NINTH SHOT, they tasered him. He was VSA at the hospital and pronounced dead there.

Some of the posts to my GD thread astounded me. One, in particular, said that what the cops did was “admirable”. Admirable? Executing a kid because he’s holding a 3-inch knife even when NO ONE is in danger? No one else was even on the trolley car. He posed no danger to anyone. Admirable?

Despite all this, I kept things out of the pit. Then, a few minutes ago, I watched this new (to me) video of the events. My gawd!! It shows that the victim was not lunging toward the door (and thus the cops) when he was shot. He was no closer to the door than he had been earlier in the standoff. But what sickens me the most about the action of the Toronto Police is that this video shows quite clearly how the cops kept pumping bullets into the kid when he was simply writhing on the floor. No matter how you interpret his earlier behaviour, he was not a threat at that point. Yet the bullets, numbers four through nine, kept coming. Disgusting. On so many levels.

(If you choose to watch the videos, my advice is to watch the YouTube one first and only after that going to Live Leak. Viewing them in that order will help you get a better sense of the orientation and pacing of the “incident”.)

… in fairness, it’s a lot easier to shoot someone when they’re lying on the ground, so by waiting until he was down they reduced the risk that they’d hit innocent bystanders.


Man, fuckin Toronto. I mean streetcars? Seriously? Why?

Just another legal murder.

Poor kid.

Update: Streetcar shooting in Toronto sparks outrage about possible excessive force

Cops are in the wrong, but we didn’t exactly lose the cure to cancer here. Dude was an idiot, borderline suicide by cop. Save your outrage for innocent people being killed or beaten senseless by cops. It happens often enough, just wait a little bit.

You mean like the G20 demonstrations here a few years ago? Blair needs to go.

I’m sorry but that’s ridiculous.

Based on that standard, the killing of people who are mentally retarded shouldn’t be considered that big a deal.

That’s a horrible thing to say. :frowning:

If it was just any old knife, I’d agree with you that the cops overreacted. But a 110 lb knife?? I’d shoot to kill too.

I don’t think most mentally retarded people are dumb enough to do what this guy did.

Considering the articles I read are saying he was a nice, smart guy, IIRC recently college graduate, who suddenly just walked onto a streetcar holding a little knife and then exposed himself, I suspect we’re talking some kind of mental breakdown, not being “dumb.”

We are now seeing videos of all the people escaping the streetcar to get away from the lunatic with the knife who was exposing himself and ordering them all to stay in the streetcar. Should the crazy man have ended up dead? Probably not. A good way to make cops less friendly is to not do what they tell you to do when you have a weapon in your hand, though, and that is pretty much universal, not just with Toronto police.

Well, sure. But the kid wasn’t representing anyone but himself. The police are agents who represent the people. We debate what the government and its agents should or shouldn’t do because it represents us.

Joe Blow doesn’t, and we can only expect the Joe Blows of the world to act in the entire range of ways that we know people act.

Right? This is what I keep coming back to. He tried to start a goddamn hostage situation. The only reason it wasn’t one is that the hostages didn’t stick around.

I think the shooting was justified, and I am generally very anti-cop.

If the guy got shot before the hostages left, you might have a point. “Shoot him! He’s a danger to all the people that might have been here in a parallel universe!”

Well trying to get into a hostage situation and failing is rarely considered sufficient cause to kill someone.

Especially when he (the eventual victim) had ordered everybody off the trolley in the first place. He was not looking for hostages.

And, regardless, once he was down from bullets one through three, what was the purpose of numbers four through nine?

The fact that there were no hostages and no apparent violent action towards the police combine to make this action look more like a punishment than a defense. I’m disappointed that anyone would consider this justified after seeing the video.

My God, man. It’s not like they can help it!