Streetcar shooting reveals importance of ‘citizen journalism’
JUL 31, 2013 | BY ISAAC THORNLEY
The 18 year old Sammy Yatim was shot nine times and then Tasered by Toronto Police on the Dundas streetcar early Saturday morning. The event was captured by several cameras, mostly bystanders using their cellphones.
Several YouTube videos show one police officer fire 9 bullets, followed by the sound of a taser from a second officer, heard moments later. Collectively the top viewed videos of the event have gained over a million views, a number growing rapidly.
These events take place amidst recent discussions of the rights of Canadian citizens to take photographs, particularly of police officers, public officials, and other figures of authority. As these amateur videos on YouTube are arguably the most visually reliable pieces of evidence surrounding the shooting, it is easy to see how the role of everyday people with respect to law enforcement has changed, as handheld cameras have become widespread.
The laws in Canada outlining what can and cannot be video recorded are vague. Currently it is legal in Canada to video record anything as long as no other laws are broken in the process. This means that essentially anything that takes place on public property, without violating the privacy of those on camera, is fair game for video recording.
- Subtitle: YouTube videos of the incident have gone viral, over a million views