Wednesday, April 25, 2018

"Toronto van attack: Calm actions of police stun US"

The calm actions of a police officer who arrested the Toronto van suspect without firing a shot have prompted praise and, in some quarters, astonishment.

Video from the scene shows suspect Alek Minassian pointing an object at the officer and shouting: "Kill me!"

The officer tells the man to "get down" and when the suspect says he has a gun, the officer repeats: "I don't care. Get down."

Videos on social media show Mr Minassian lying down as the officer arrests him.

Many in North America are asking how the suspect did not end up dead in a hail of police gunfire. It contrasts with incidents in the US where police have shot and killed unarmed people.

"Research has shown that Canadian police are reluctant users of deadly force," says Rick Parent, a criminologist at Simon Fraser University in Canada's British Columbia.

"An analysis of police shooting data over many years revealed, that in comparison to their American counterparts, Canadian police officers discharge their firearms far less, per capita than US police. However, like American police officers they take many risks in protecting the public."

One US-based academic told the BBC that the officer would have had a "duty" to kill the suspect, if the object he was pointing was a gun.

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