Ontario expands use of stun guns
Aug 27, 2013 / 8:12 am
Ontario's governing Liberals are permitting the expanded use of stun guns by police, allowing frontline officers to carry Tasers if their police board chooses to do so.
Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur made the announcement Tuesday morning, following weeks of scrutiny since a Toronto teenager was shot and killed on a streetcar.
Currently, Ontario restricts the use of Tasers to a few select supervising officers and special units.
Sammy Yatim, 18, died in the early hours of July 27 after being shot multiple times on a TTC streetcar. Video footage of the event also shows a stun gun was deployed during the incident.
Witnesses said Yatim was holding a knife on the empty streetcar at the time of the shooting.
Toronto Police Const. James Forcillo has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with Yatim's death by the Special Investigations Unit.
The shooting sparked outrage across the city, prompting protests in the city's downtown core calling for justice for Yatim's death.
Following the shooting, Meilleur said the government would conduct a review of police use of force training, equipment and reporting procedures.
Besides the police SIU investigation, two other probes have been launched in the wake of the Yatim shooting.
A separate investigation by Ontario's ombudsman will examine what guidelines are provided to police for defusing conflicts.
As well, retired justice Dennis O'Connor will review police procedures, use of force and police responses to emotionally disturbed people.
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