Sammy Yatim “You’re a fuck’n pussy” + “Police are a Gun Culture” = “How could this happen?” Police board chair.
August 3rd, 2013
Just an update. An important read.
Globe and Mail, ‘How could this happen?’ Police board chair asks for answers in Sammy Yatim shooting by Alok Mukherjee, Chair of the Toronto Police Services Board.
Mr. Mukherjee writes in part:
Ever since that tragic night when the Yatims lost their son, I have been trying to put myself in their situation. Every time, that leads me to one question: “How could this happen?”
It leads me to this question because of all the effort that I and many other people of goodwill have made to realize a different vision of policing than we had been accustomed to. I can say in all honesty that it has been a significant effort, intended to bring about comprehensive change in the culture and practice of policing. Those efforts, to a very large degree, have been in response to earlier incidents, such the deaths of Edmund Yu and Jeffrey Riodica in police shootings.
Tragedy such as the one that has befallen the Yatims causes profound soul-searching. I very much hope there will be a collective soul-searching on the part of all of us involved with policing, in whatever capacity.
I know there will be no letup on my part until we have an answer to the question, “How could this happen?” I have heard and read the pat, instant solutions that have been offered so far, and I find them wanting or off-base.
Until we have the answer and respond to it with concrete action, the hope expressed in that dedication from 1978 will not have been realized, as far as policing is concerned.
We had better get down to the task quickly and in all seriousness. We owe it to the memory of Sammy Yatim.
I’ve read articles, columns and most important, watched the Sammy Yatim video. The thing is I’m still shocked at nine rounds fired by one police officer into a guy holding a knife in an empty streetcar.
It’s like your most cherished trusted family dog just killed someone with one tear of the jugular. And I can’t get past that.
Fact is, my “memory” of Sammy Yatim is an audio track —his voice taunting “You’re a pussy. You’re a fuck’n pussy.”
But the message that’s left, the one that promises to make sense of it all took me back to Summer 2008 when I had a conversation with a Maui Police officer. I told him that I was researching law enforcement (police/security guards) focusing on their relationships with youth. Youth Crime. Roots of Youth Violence. Guns and Gangs.
And the Maui officer stated the Obvious that I hadn’t thought of before. “Police are a gun culture.”
UPDATE August 3, 2013 8:31 pm.
Also want to highlight Toronto Sun’s Michael Coren and his “Let truth triumph: Don’t bash police in the Yatim tragedy, and don’t apologize for them” if for no other reason than he speaks for me. This part:
…I’m not defending criminals and attacking the police — and I am sick and tired of gangsters being described as saints after they are killed. But in this case, it appears the victim was a fool rather than a felon.
The support marches were, naturally, hijacked by the usual coalition of left-wing fanatics, naive zealots, and anti-police thugs. And neurotic teenage girls wanting to be part of a happening.
The boy’s parents, however, have reacted with grace and genuine emotion, and my heart breaks for them. I just pray their last words were loving rather than confrontational and they do not blame themselves.
Let me be candid. A decade ago, I had hardly a bad word for the police. I am afraid my experience since then has not been good. Selective policing, indifference, dishonesty, political agendas, contempt. A minority I am sure, but not so small that you don’t notice.
Michael Coren’s noticed too…