Outrage is mounting in Canada’s largest city over the death of Sammy Yatim, an 18-year-old Syrian immigrant who was shot repeatedly by police after taking out a knife in an empty streetcar. Hundreds took to Toronto’s streets last night, demanding answers from the city’s police department after a video capturing the entire incident surfaced online. We’re embedding the video below, but the Associated Press offers a summary for those who might not want to watch it:
The video shows 18-year-old Sammy Yatim holding a knife inside the streetcar early Saturday, 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 later used on Yatim.
Reports have surfaced that Yatim had a troubled history and ordered passengers out of the streetcar before police arrived. But former Toronto policeman Mark Mendelson confirmed what seems to be the prevailing wisdom on the incident: “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.” The unnamed officer who fired the shots was suspended today with pay, and Toronto officials state that an investigation is underway. The National Post has a more complete rundown of the shooting and reaction.
Here’s the video, which while not necessarily graphic is clearly difficult to watch: