As everyone knows by now in Toronto, A mentally unstable man drove a rental van onto the sidewalk and ran over 15 people, killing 10 of them, nine instantly. The killer was inspired by some other mass murderer and the savage tactic recommended by terrorist organizations to weaponize their vehicles to kill as many innocents as possible.
But the only truly revelatory thing about this horrific incident was not only about what drove the killer to slaughter unsuspecting pedestrians but was how the Toronto P.D. and particularly one immensely brave cop handled it. As the photos from the video footage show, the cops cornered the wrecked van parked on the sidewalk and the man steps out of the vehicle and is pointing something at the cop who drew his weapon.
The man was quoted telling and challenging the cop to shoot him down, but the cop doesn’t and continues ordering the killer to put his hands down.
The cop then moves closer, noticing that the object the man is holding is not a firearm and then slowly approaches him. He then gets the man to lie down on the ground and slaps the cuffs on him.
Even though the cop was doing his job efficiently detaining a suspect, this was an amazing feat of courage and professionalism. This arrest also debunks and practically destroys the common denominator defense policy and protocol to shoot immediately if the cop assumes a threat during a difficult arrest of a suspect or if the suspect is holding what’s to presumed to be a gun. The so-called split second defense.
Mostly, this also obliterates any justification and the efforts to manipulate the shooting of Saheed Vassell in Crown Heights. Who was gunned down in seconds on the assumption that he drew a weapon but was instead a piece of junk he was playing with.
To compare, the Toronto cop was responding to murders already committed and confronted the killer face to face who was pretending to hold a weapon to provoke the cop to shoot him. The confrontation lasted a little over 90 seconds and the officer did not fire and wound up arresting him. While the 4 cops who shot Vassell rolled up in the intersection and pumped him with bullets just as the last 2 911 calls were taken by citizens calling about Vassell and his assumed weapon. (Still no audio has been released, although the two last calls end abruptly and describe the shooting as it took place, with one woman crying at the end of the third call.)
The easier way to really compare this is video. As the Toronto footage shows the cop was probably about 40 feet from the killer and did not fire his weapon, figuring out he wasn’t holding a real gun.
In the Crown Heights footage, the footage provided by the NYPD shows the angle from across the street and showing people immediately fleeing the area. As the cops go running to the northeast corner with their guns drawn.
In another video shot by the community organization Copwatch, there are a group of men standing over Vassell’s body on the corner with 2 unmarked cars parked in the middle of the intersection. (Note the man waving people off in the end, he is wearing a T-shirt of comic book vigilante killer “The Punisher” as I pointed out on my post on this incident.)
It looks like Vassell was shot down by the four cops by not that far a distance as the Toronto cop was from his mass murder suspect.
If those four cops would have used another second they could have realized that Saheed was not holding a gun and shooting him could have been averted (although maybe giving a verbal warning first would have helped too, which witnesses at the scene claim were never issued). As the Toronto policeman showed, it could have took 60 extra seconds to handle the situation and wind up with an arrest.
It’s clear that police precincts and sheriff departments in this nation dealing with and enabling excessive force shootings driven by panic and fear need to look to the Great White North for proper policing protocol.