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Toronto Police Incorrectly Handled the Sammy Yatim Situation

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/16/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,180 times Debate No: 36756
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)




Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Opening arguments
Round 3: Rebuttal
Round 4: Rebuttal
Round 5: Closing Statement. New arguments are prohibited.
Debate Round No. 1


Quite a profound acceptance from Con. I seem to have my work set out for me.

I believe the Toronto police incorrectly handled the Sammy Yatim situation. I refer to the term "incorrectly" in the ways which police on scene handled the situation ( by not following Toronto police regulation) and also the actions the police committed during the time this situation took place (one officer is seen standing on scene doing nothing, police did not section off the area nor attempt to redirect pedestrians away from the scene, and "the teen, who was wielding a small blade on an empty streetcar, was fired at nine times and then tasered on July 26 (" Take a look at the footage . The way the police handled this situation on scene, and the actions they took, resulted in Sammy Yatims death.

When a solo teenager whom is holding a knife in an isolated streetcar, one of the first precautions the officers should have taken is to secure the area and clear out pedestrians. Not to simply go ahead and draw their weapon and then proceed to shoot the teenager nine times from a distance, and then move in a taser the teen.

It can be seen in the video that out of the ten police officers, not a single one attempted to clear out pedestrians, in act, at 1:43 in the video, you can see an officer simply standing there beside his bike doing nothing.

To keep it succinct, Toronto police incorrectly handled the situation by taking the life of this teenager when there was no need to do so. There was nine officers on scene, and a police officer fired nine bullets at this teen when there was no reason; a police officer proceeded to taser the severely wounded teenager who was not fighting back; police should have offered help or negotiated with him before taking any sort of action; police should have blocked off the area and cleared pedestrians; and the main point: police fired nine lethal shots at a stagnant teen when even in the most violent instance, they could have shot his leg.

I have therefore stated my definition of what I mean by "incorrect", and I have provided facts that illustrate how police incorrectly handled the situation, as well as, I have provided ways in which better methods could have been taken in this situation that would have been a more correct approach on the behalf of Toronto police.



I'm going to take you on a journey.

It is a journey into the mind of the man who held a gun that day. The man who pulled the trigger and shot the 18 year old with a penis in one hand and knife in the other nine times and then allowed his chief to taser the poor guy.

Was he right? Perhaps not.

Was he wrong? Definitely not.

Let's assess the situation from the very beginning. From far before the police had arrived at the scene. To when an 18 year-old stood up, unzipped his pants pulled out his dick and a knife and held one with his left and the other with his right. He brooded terror amongst and entire streetcar (a Canadian equivalent to a train carriage). He had seemingly no motive. Was entirely unpredictable and was breaking about 5 different laws at once.

Ladies and gentlemen, here with consider a man so apparently insane, so insane that he might perhaps suddenly throw his knife right at your neck regardless of your army of armed cops. A man so capable of illogical sudden actions that he would stand and begin simultaneously masturbating and holding a knife a whilst walking to the front of a vehicle with apparently no other intention than to feel dangerous. This is what that policeman was dealing with.

Don't just take my word for it though. Let's give witness accounts.

"He stuck his arm out and the knife was sticking straight up in front of me, I was backing up holding my bike saying, ‘Please just let us off the streetcar. Just let us off the streetcar!" Recalls the terrified Mister Li-Hill who thankfully escaped this lunatic unscathed thanks to what can only be assumed to be mister Yatim's bloodlust focusing elsewhere.

"To be honest, the first thing that crossed my mind, based on him holding a knife and his penis, was that he wasn’t mentally stable. He seemed angry. He was very focused on something at the front of the streetcar. I’m not sure if it was the people or just one person in particular." States the perplexed and terrified Jessica Doyle who is most traumatised by the experience. She didn't see Sammy as a real threat apparently but then what can such a perplexed woman of 28 really know about the intentions of such a madman.

If you watch the video debate, you will notice a pattern in what the witnesses are saying. The all agree that the man completely terrorised them emotionally but terrorised no one physically. They all agree that he was trying to take them all hostage and that he was absolutely unpredictable and a potential danger to every single person in that car, even holding the driver hostage for quite some time.

So what it comes down to is how to deal with such an insane man with an open door between you and him knowing that at any time he could throw the knife at your face, neck or somewhere else on your body. You have to remember that the entire time this man is holding his penis for no apparent reason.

The police force is not some elite superhuman army of law enforcers; they are people just like you and I. The man who shot him was very scared of this man and in a state of extreme confusion and fear. He tried to keep the man back so they could handcuff him and even explicitly stated "if you step forward, I will have to shoot you" as can be seen on the youtube video that my opponent posted.

The man then chose to step forward as a threat and still was swinging the knife back and forth holding it upwards, a position that is easy to throw from.

The policeman shot him three times but then the man tried to get up again, not once letting go of the knife. Therefore the policeman had to shoot him more times (noting that none were aimed at vital organs). They then waited for him to lay still before tasering him as soon as his hand holding the knife went limp. They had to do what they had to do in that situation.

Just remember these police have saved many lives and got justice enforced many times, they know that anything at all can happen.

The man was publicly nude (potentially in front of some minors although this isn't confirmed), in possession of a weapon as a civilian and also had just taken people hostage as well as disrespected a police officer. If this is not worthy of a police shot then how many laws would one have to break to warrant such an action?

Thank you for your time, I hope I've opened your mind.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent has given his opening argument that focuses a great deal on the passengers that were on the Toronto street car. However, the issue that we are discussing, is: did Toronto police incorrectly handle the Sammy Yatim situation? I have illustrated in my opening argument what I mean by "incorrect". We are focusing on the actions of the police, not the passengers that fled the street car without receiving any physical harm. Anything being discussed besides the actions of Toronto police or the 18 year old Sammy Yatim is excess information.

Firstly, to veer off the main topic a little bit, that is, "assess the situation from the very beginning.From far before the police had arrived at the scene" as my opponent has stated. If Sammy Yatim wanted to cause harm, or threaten to stab someone or even point his knife at someone - which he did not ("he didn"t angle it or thrust it at anyone, according to the last eyewitness to interact with him ( - he certainly did have the chance, but he refrained from doing so. Similar questions are raised in my mind that match this quote by The Toronto Star: "their recollections of his behaviour raise questions. Why didn"t Yatim stab people when he had the opportunity? What caused him to expose himself? Why did he stay on the streetcar, and even sit down, after all the passengers fled(

On the same point, I'd like to address my opponents statement "ladies and gentlemen, here with consider a man so apparently insane, so insane that he might perhaps suddenly throw his knife right at your neck regardless of your army of armed cops." Sammy Yatim would have caused harm if that's what his motive was, but it was not; and my opppnent even stated "he had seemingly no motive." My opponent has cited a quote that confirms Sammy Yatim was not an imminent physical threat: "If you watch the video debate, you will notice a pattern in what the witnesses are saying. The all agree that the man completely terrorised them emotionally but terrorised no one physically."

If Sammy Yatim wanted to stab someone or throw his knife at someone near by, he had multiple opportunities. In the expecting streetcar full of oblivious passengers, the people in the same streetcar when he exposed his knife and created fear, bystanders, or even Toronto police, but he did not, and this argument is not based off of what ifs or speculation; this debate is discussing "Did Toronto Police Incorrectly Handle the Sammy Yatim Situation?"

The man now dead, Sammy Yatim, whom exposed himself, has nothing to do with the actions committed by police. "Witnesses said Yatim had a knife and had exposed himself on the streetcar, but allowed all the occupants to leave ("

Secondly - now that we will be focusing on the relevant and main issue relating to the actions taken by Toronto police- I would like to address my opponents statement "the police force is not some elite superhuman army of law enforcers; they are people just like you and I." Toronto police are certainly not superhuman, but they are certainly not like you and I. Presumably, you are not a police officer, nor am I, so that makes us unlike police officers. Police officers go through official training at police academies to learn the law and how to be officers of the law. Police officers are expected to experts in keeping the peace, de-escalation techniques, and protection ( Police officers have undergone training and classes to learn how to handle certain types of situations they may face as police offers. Since we have not undergone official police training, we are unlike police officers, and we are not held to the same expectations as police officers.

Toronto police incorrectly handled the Sammy Yatim situation.

In the video one can see nine officers, then moments later another arrives, making ten in total. The officers on scene did not have patience to attempt de-escalation techniques, nor wait for a interrogate to arrive on scene to talk to the isolated Sammy in an surrounded and isolated street car with no one else on board. The police acted with aggression and again, do not even attempt de-escalation methods. Instead "it appears that Sammy took about half-a-step forward, which was apparently reason enough for a police officer to unload nine bullets at him (" and he was not wielding the knife towards anyone nor threatening to stab officers ( Police acted immediately with deadly force by firing nine shots at the 18 year old, and then proceeded to move in and tase Sammy.

"The policeman shot him three times but then the man tried to get up again, not once letting go of the knife. Therefore the policeman had to shoot him more times (noting that none were aimed at vital organs). They then waited for him to lay still before tasering him as soon as his hand holding the knife went limp. They had to do what they had to do in that situation." There is not any video evidence or articles that can confirm this.

"The man who shot him was very scared of this man and in a state of extreme confusion and fear." The police officer who prematurely shot 18 year old Sammy Yatim was Const. James Forcillo, and he is an a six-year veteran of the Toronto force. He was not scared of this isolated 18 year old, and he was not in extreme confusion or fear. He was a six year veteran who is trained to properly handle situations such as this once, but proceeded to mishandle it by firing nine shots without sufficient reason and then tased Sammy who was on the ground bleeding (

Another way in which police officers mishandled the situation with the 18 year old Sammy Yatim, is that out out the ten officers, not one attempted to clear out pedestrians from the surrounding area. There was a great chance that stray bullets could have missed Sammy and struck bystanders who police did not clear from the area.

In conclusion, 18 year old Sammy Yatim could still be alive today if it wasn't for the Toronto police on scene mishandling the situation. If de-escalation techniques, or if police waited for a negotiator, there is a good chance that Sammy Yatim could have been talked down, but Toronto police did not wait and proceeded to fire nine shots at Sammy who was not fighting back or threatening police. Toronto police omitted the safety of bystanders and passing traffic by not clearing out the area and se


Rebuttal to Round 2

The Toronto police shot an armed criminal. they did not violate any Toronto police regulations, on paper, whatsoever. The issue that the regulations themselves might not have been too lenient is what the protests were about, not that the police violated any. To state that would be an utter lie.

There were absolutely no pedestrians anywhere near the streetcar. Even o the video you posted, it is easy to see that for a fair radius around the streetcar, the only people present were police. The fact that the police weren't clearing away pedestrians is because there weren't any there to clear. The nearest one was the video captor, and he was pretty far from the streetcar.

The Toronto police did not shoot any of the criminal's vitals and I challenge you to show me evidence as such.

Rebuttal to Round 3

The witness reports were extremely relevant to show how insane and unpredictable the man was. The fact that he had attacked no-one and had seemingly no motive only further worried everyone since a man with no motive who is holding a knife might suddenly find a 'motive' to kill you. In fact, if he had had a motive, the police probably would have never shot him in the first place and reasoned with him about what was on his mind, the man had literally just decided to hold his penis and knife and could have potentially snapped into rage at any moment just as readily as he snapped into that mode of insanity. An unpredictable person who is doing something so crazy for no apparent reason is actually more of a threat to a police force than a man who has shot four people with a specific purpose for doing so and therefore would want to bother hurting the policemen as he is a rational killer who knows what is wise and unwise to de, especially if he/she wants a very good justification for what he'd done to be possible in court.

The emotional trauma the man gave everyone indicated he wanted some kind of power trip regardless of his lack of physical violence. What, then, would stop him from suddenly wanting to lob a knife at a policeman's neck just for the thrill of it? After all, a thrill was all he had sought after when he began his terrorizing of the vehicle.

In conclusion. the policemen were dealing with a highly unpredictable person who absolutely refused to drop his weapon which could potentially have harmed the policeman, only a few feet away. Therefore the shots were shot in defence and since he still was grappling at his knife while on the floor never letting go of it he could have suddenly thrown it backwards so that's why the second six were shot. I don't need to give evidence of this, it's the only rational explanation for what happened unless you have an alternative one which makes reasonable sense and explains why the veteran police officer would be 'immune to panic'.

I would just like to leave you with one question:

There was an 18 your old man whom, for no reason whatsoever and without any motive at all, had spontaneously decided to hold his penis and a knife and then terrorize everyone on a streetcar stopping travel plans for thousands of people within that city over the hours that followed.

Now tell me, realistically, how you would be able to reason and calm down such an irrational person when you know that every second you waste with him, you could have spent stopping a rape or robbery.
Debate Round No. 3


I do not intentionally mean to sound arrogant, but after the sexual messages I have received from my opponent, it really makes me question him as a person.

Read my opponents attempt at a rebuttal. My response to that is that I recommend one watches the video of the incident I have posted in round two, then proceed to read my round two and three statements that in fact, directly respond to my opponents round three statement.


The video shows that there were no pedestrians nearby which contradicts my own opponent's attack on the police. Thank you. Have a nice day!
Debate Round No. 4


I fill no need to repeat myself or specify again that we are discussing how the POLICE incorrectly handled the situation. My opponent evasively refers back to before the police were on scene and then proceeds to follow his statement up by stating his points justify why police shot and 18 year old nine times then continued to tase him. One can clearly see vehicles driving by, and other bystanders filmed the event which shows more than just the individual filming was on scene.
Read my points again.

Thank you to the ones that read this.

P.S I will be blocking Irresistible for the offensive and derogatory sexual messages he sent me.


Irresistable forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by D.Wolf 5 years ago
My opponent has closed his account.
Posted by D.Wolf 5 years ago
I would like to add, seeing this story only came out earlier today, that the officer who shot the 18 year old Sammy Yatim was found guilty of murder today ( This is a cold hard fact which is undeniable and can not be diverted from with semantics. Thus, proving my point.
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