Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Sammy Yatim's murder - leads to Police Conviction

Does shooting a dead person (even if the shooter is unaware of death) constitute attempted murder? Yes, according to the recent conviction of Constable James Forcillo for attempted murder of Sammy Yatim.

Forcillo is the only officer facing charges. The police may offer more training in the future, but they have been saying they will improve training for decades. I offer a Proposal to ensure that the other officers are accountable and learn from experiences like this.

  1. Police at the scene of a violent encounter with a person in crisis (PIC) have a mandatory debrief. 
  2. During training, police have an experience of institutionalization (1-3 nights) in a forensic mental health facility or prison.
  3. All officers who fail to deescalate a situation involving a PIC have to reenter the insitutionalization process for training purposes.
Back to the case...

Const. James Forcillo, left, is accused of second-degree murder and attempted murder in the 2013 shooting of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim, right.
Const. James Forcillo, left, is accused of second-degree murder and attempted murder in the 2013 shooting of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim, right. (Toronto Star)

The verdict is disappointing for both sides. Forcillo is likely going to jail with a target on his back as a police officer. No one else is being held to account.

Yatim's family will have to live with this forever:

“Sammy was a young man who had his whole future ahead of him. Because of what the police did, we lost him forever. Nothing in this world will compensate me for the loss of my son, nor will anything bring him back to me, but I would like, for the sake of this great country, that the police remain a source of confidence, security and respect for all people.”
Toronto Star gives a longer account of the verdict:

However, they clearly found that the second volley of shots fired five-and-a-half seconds later was neither justifiable or in self-defence. The finding of guilt suggests the jury felt Yatim was no longer a threat when Forcillo fired at him six times, striking him five times in his lower part of his paralyzed body but not causing the fatal injuries that led to his death, possibly before he was Tasered by another officer.
...Defence counsel for Forcillo characterized the verdicts as a “compromise” but repeatedly said this is just Phase 1. Over the two weeks in May set aside for a sentencing hearing, the defence will bring an abuse-of-process application to have the charges stayed. Following that, they will seek to prove the mandatory minimum sentence for attempted murder is unconstitutional. 
The challenge is to find ways to stop this from happening in the future. Incentives for police must align with the interests of the public. Avoiding training institutionalization would encourage other officers to stop their aggressive partners.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Pop was for the masses. Now I want to be the masses.

I admit it; I liked the Spice Girls. But I also like lots of alternative rock and the idea that I was too cool for pop music in the mid 1990s.

So I was surprised, when I realized how much I was listening to catchy pop tunes by SIA, Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift, Alessia Cara and Miley Cyrus, I was surprised.

Have I mellowed in my old age? Well, yes. But also, I like the drama, the pathos, the hope or the sense of everything being important and new. I also like to stretch my vocal range (Demi Lovato Confident):

And the cynicism is fun too (Alessia Cara Here):

Ok. My tastes are electronic or very old timey folk:

Friday, December 11, 2015

Coffee and chocolate and comedy

I am chocolate addicted and lactose intolerant. This caused problems when faced with fudge and Sima's suicide treats at the  Laughing Like Crazy showcase December 10, 2015 in Toronto.

Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce
Chocolate makes me high. Thanks https://chewoutloud.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/hot-chocolate-fudge-sauce.jpg
I opted for the sweets and I survived so I was swollen, smiling and spiritually satisfied, . (35 s's so far...37)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Otter faking it?

Oil spills are particularly visible examples of our oil based system gone wrong. This is a topic that The Onion - America's Finest News Source brings to the public consciousness with their investigative report into the phenomenon of otters faking suffering due to oil exposure. Otters like environmentalists go overboard (pun intended) with their complaints about pollution destroying their environments.

According to Shell president Marvin Odum, the otter has been putting on "quite a show" in front of rescue workers and clean-up crews, and is making the 860,000-gallon, three-mile-wide toxic slick seem like a much bigger deal than it actually is.

"He's fine," said Odum, referring to the 40-pound sea creature, who was found washed ashore and appeared to be suffering from anaphylactic shock. "Trust me, before all of the cameras and reporters showed up, our little buddy here was having no problem at all cleaning himself off. Now, all of a sudden, it's severe spastic convulsions this and complete kidney failure that."...

Ollila went on to praise a number of petroleum-soaked seals, pelicans, and sea turtles in the contaminated area, commending them for remaining completely still and silent, and not "making a big production" out of the environmental disaster when rescue and camera crews arrived at the scene.

On a more serious note, oil spills present a particularly severe risk in the Arctic Ocean. The ecosystem is more vulnerable to disruptions, because there is a delicate balance of life that can exist in cold temperatures. The issue of Arctic sovereignty for Canada and other Northern nations is important here, because if the North West passage is owned by Canada then Canada can enforce environmental standards against ships that fly any flag. This way we can board, inspect, punish and deter rickety ships that travel with "flags of convenience". Maybe we can protect some otters too...

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Biking in Toronto

Biking is great for the mind, body, traffic, and the environment, but today I am feeling a little worried. Michael Bryant's car and Darcy Allan Sheppard a bike courier had a terrible encounter on the evening of August 31 that left Sheppard dead and Bryant's future tarnished. Whoever was responsible for this specific incident (Toronto Star), the frightening thing to me is that there are a lot more drivers out there that have less incentive to avoid hitting bikes than Michael Bryant. Michael Bryant has already resigned his position as CEO of Invest Toronto and will face serious political costs in addition to the potential criminal penalties that all drivers would face for driving dangerously. An example of someone with lots of rage, this off-duty police officer Darius Tierman:

I wonder about the road rage that we carry around with us when we are behind the wheel of a car. Inside the steel car cage we get aggressive, always in a hurry or trying to beat the guy in front of us.

Even if a driver would not actually run down a cyclist in cold-blood, the driver`s reaction times might be delayed because of a perceived slight by a cyclist.

So...saying all of that I set off for downtown Toronto equipped with helmet and courage. Here are some sites for bike advocacy, the Toronto Cyclist Union and a potential Cyclists' Bill of Rights.

Toronto's guide to biking. Don't mess with trucks.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Halifax Hopes - NDP Convention

There are several things I hope to learn and do at the 2009 NDP convention in Halifax this weekend:

1. Work on strategies to improve outreach (better than in Thunder Bay) to people who are sick of politics. Can we reach people through listening, advertizing, community groups and affiliations?
2. Learn about the policy making process. (Tim's policies would provide for local sustainable food and economic systems, an inclusive equitable social contract, climate action, and some serious steps towards bringing the partying back to progressive politics.
3. Get a picture with Jack Layton, Obama (long shot here), a sailor, a fish?
4. Improve my shmoozing skills and meet people from across the country to recharge my batteries.

I would like to see a name change if it brings a new vibe and new ideas: Democratic Party of Canada...sounds good

Remember the words of afore: "The new strong is Action Wool"