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Canadian streetcar shooting sparks BWV debate

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The fatal shooting of teenager Sammy Yatim in Toronto has triggered outrage among the Canadian public.

The incident – caught on video by bystanders with mobile phones and quickly spread over the internet – has raised questions as to whether the Canadian police should be recording their own video.

Yatim Protest

The viral footage of the incident has led to many questions regarding the severe reaction of the more than 20 officers at the scene, none of whom were equipped with body worn video equipment.

Hundreds gathered on the streets of Toronto to protest the shooting early this week. If the Police had recorded their own perspective of the incident – would the public still be as determined to show their outrage?

A small number of Canadian Police forces are currently trialling Body Worn Video in Ottawa, Edmonton and Ontario.

Paul Cook, the president of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, has spoken about the benefits of BWV:

“The opportunity to protect officers from false allegations of misconduct, and also provide us with the opportunity to hold our officers accountable if there was misconduct,” he said.

Use-of-force

As reported here, a study in California has shown that Police use-of-force dropped considerably when their officers were equipped with body worn video.

The officer who shot Sammy Yatim dead has been suspended. On Monday, the Toronto police deparment pledged to investigate what led to the shooting.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said he had watched the video and shared the public’s concerns.

“I recognise there is a need for answers,” he said.

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