Tuesday, August 13, 2013

#Toronto protest against Police shootings

Hundreds gathered at noon before heading out to Police Headquarters to protest the recent shooting death of Sammy Yatim. The protest march was led by Sammy’s sister Sarah who led the march in the bed of a pickup truck with two other women. The protest led police to close down roads and accompany the protesters as they made their way through city streets on Tuesday, August 13, 2013.

The protesters and the media gathered at Yonge-Dundas Square across from the Eaton Centre

news interview

The march begins by heading north on Yonge Street

See more of the protest after the jump.

Chief Bill Blair's statement to media at August 12 press conference:
"On Monday, July 29, I spoke to the public after the death of Sammy Yatim. I acknowledged the very serious concerns that the family of the deceased and the public have, and I gave my assurance to all of the citizens of Toronto of our unwavering commitment to get the answers they seek.

Today I would like to update you on what I and the Toronto Police Service are doing to provide those answers.

The SIU’s investigation remains a priority over all other inquiries. The law is quite clear in preventing me from disclosing any information on the incident or the investigation. This maintains the integrity of the investigation and I will continue to uphold it. We will continue to cooperate fully with the SIU.

In addition to the SIU’s mandate, the Police Services Act, (Section 11) requires that the Chief of Police “must also cause an investigation, subject to the SIU’s lead role in the investigation. The purpose of the Chief’s Section 11 investigation is to review the policies and services provided by the police force and the conduct of its members.”

The responsibilities placed upon me under this Section of the Police Act are critical to maintaining public confidence in the way in which members of the Toronto Police Service serve and protect the citizens of our city.

This review must be objective and thorough and must look critically at all aspects of our Service, including our policies, procedures, the training our members receive and even the equipment they use. It must examine best practices employed in other jurisdictions and it must be done in a way that will instill confidence, both among our citizens and for the police officers who every day work to keep our city safe.

In recognition of the importance of this review , I have, today, asked Retired Associate Chief Justice of Ontario, the Honourable Dennis O’Connor, QC, to assist the Toronto Police Service by examining our Use of Force and our response to emotionally disturbed persons, and to make recommendations regarding the Toronto Police Service’s:

Additionally, I have asked the retired Justice to conduct an international review of established best practice, and to make recommendations that will enable us to improve the quality of our service to the people of Toronto.

The conduct of the officers involved will be investigated by my Professional Standards unit.

The Honourable Dennis O’Connor, QC, sat on the Court of Appeal for Ontario from 1998 to 2012. He served as the Associate Chief Justice of Ontario from 2001 until he retired at the end of 2012. He also served as a deputy judge of the Yukon Supreme Court.

He has conducted two public inquiries: the Walkerton Inquiry (2000-02) and the Maher Arar Inquiry (2004-06).

Mr. O’Connor will have, at his disposal, all the work that has been done, over many years by TPS experts, in the development of our policies, procedures and training."

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