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Former Supreme Court Justice Recommends Giving Toronto Police Officers Tasers and Body Cameras

Frank Iacobucci makes 84 recommendations for officers dealing with emotionally disturbed people.

In a highly anticipated report on the use of lethal force by Toronto police, former Supreme Court judge Frank Iacobucci recommends that front-line officers be equipped with body-worn cameras and Tasers and undergo enhanced training.

The report, released today, contains 84 recommendations aimed at improving the way police deal with mentally ill and emotionally disturbed people. It was precipitated by the death of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim—who was shot eight times and Tasered by police last summer on an empty streetcar—and released amid a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed by the Yatim family against the Toronto Police Services Board, Chief Bill Blair, and three officers.

Among the most significant items in the report is a recommendation that the Toronto Police Service launch a pilot project that would make Tasers available to some front-line officers, in order to determine whether the weapons do, in fact, save lives. (Currently, only supervisors and tactical officers are permitted to carry Tasers.) The report also recommends that officers who may encounter people in crisis be issued with body-worn cameras to ensure accountability and transparency.

Iacobucci addressed issues of training and oversight, too. He recommends creating a police and mental health oversight body, giving preference to prospective constables who have a history of community service and involvement in mental health, educating officers on available mental health resources, and making mandatory the completion of a “mental health first-aid course.”

Blair, who appointed Iacobucci last August to help review the police force’s policies and training, sat alongside the former judge at a press conference this morning. He assured reporters that the report will not gather dust: “We will move on the 84 recommendations by Justice Iacobucci and his team with a strong sense of urgency.”

Read the full report below.

Police Encounters With People in Crisis 2014

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