Judge: Ford, Toews improperly discussed officer in Yatim case

A judge says Ford and Tory engaged in “reckless” criticism of the officer who shot and killed 15-year-old Sammy Yatim in downtown Toronto, whose shooting inflamed tensions in Canada’s largest city.

In a written decision Monday, Superior Court Justice Gladys Pardu called for “some public reflection” after two politicians — Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews — issued public criticisms of police after Yatim was killed last month.

Pardu said the comments were “unfair, unhelpful and irresponsible.”

“The parties, Mr. Ford in particular, seemed to be attempting to influence public opinion for whatever reasons,” she wrote.

She suggested they violated the code of conduct that applies to federally appointed members of Parliament in the country.

Ford spoke out a day after Yatim was killed. “I’m totally against shooting kids,” he said. “I think the officers did what they were trained to do. I think the way they handled the situation was absolutely perfect. I hope the community understands and respects it.”

Tory, a member of Toronto’s provincial Parliament, said Yatim’s family “must accept their part” in the incident. “I also recognize they have every right to do that in the context of a public inquest.”

The police force’s actions were “exemplary,” Toews said.

At the inquest into Yatim’s death, two police officers told the coroner the teen was “violent and uncooperative” when the shooting happened.

One of the officers also said Yatim had a “potent arsenal” of weapons at his disposal, including a knife and other items like glass bottles and a pair of scissors, court documents show.

The young man was confronted by police when he held a knife against his throat and pointed it at officers, then lunged and grabbed an officer’s gun, police said.

The officer then fired several shots, hitting Yatim in the abdomen, leg and hand, according to the documents.

When Yatim fell to the ground, he put up his arms in surrender, which prompted more shots, the documents said.

A public inquiry is now looking into the July 27 incident.

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