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Toronto police officer hailed as hero for arresting suspect without firing shot

Unidentified officer arrested 25-year Alek Minassian after white van ploughed into pedestrians, killing 10 and leaving dozens injured

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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Toronto police officer hailed as hero for arresting suspect without firing shot” was written by Ashifa Kassam in Toronto, for The Guardian on Tuesday 24th April 2018 19.37 UTC

A Canadian police officer is being hailed for the restraint and professionalism he showed in arresting the suspect in the Toronto van attack without firing a single shot.

On Monday afternoon, a white van ploughed into pedestrians along one of Toronto’s busiest streets, killing 10 people and injuring more than a dozen others in what one official described as “pure carnage”.

Soon after, the alleged driver of the van was arrested by a lone police officer in a confrontation lasting less than a minute and caught on video by bystanders.

“Get down,” the officer, identified by sources as Ken Lam, shouts repeatedly.

“Kill me,” the man responds. “I have a gun in my pocket.”

Lam’s voice remains calm as he again orders the man to get down, warning that he will shoot if the man does not cooperate. “Shoot me in the head,” the suspect replies.

The officer then begins advancing towards the suspect. The suspect steps backwards, dropping what he was holding and raising his hands in the air. Lam proceeds to single-handedly arrest the suspect.

The arrest came as police forces across North America – including in Toronto – have been criticised for using excessive force to subdue mentally ill or unarmed suspects.

Police identified Alek Minassian, a 25-year-old from the nearby town of Richmond Hill, as the man who had been arrested. He appeared in court on Tuesday, charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.

Officials refused to comment on a motive, but said the suspect did not represent a threat to national security.

Video of the dramatic confrontation between the suspect and the police officer was hailed on social media, where praise poured in for Lam.

Many said he deserved a medal. A columnist for Maclean’s magazine contrasted Lam’s calm demeanor with the chaos and horror that had unfolded minutes earlier. “I am paid to explain things and sound confident doing so,” he wrote. “But I honestly don’t know what to make of this terrifying, remarkable moment.”

Mark Saunders, the city’s police chief, credited the force’s high calibre of training. “The officer did a fantastic job with respect to utilising his ability of understanding the circumstance and environment and having a peaceful resolution at the end of the day,” he said.

Mike McCormack, the president of the Toronto Police Association, said Lam – a constable who has been with the force for more than seven years – would have been justified if he had decided to fire at the suspect. “He was constantly assessing, constantly watching what was going on and determined he could handle it the way that he did,” he said. “People are right: this guy is a hero.”

He had spoken to Lam, who was left shaken. “It’s stressful enough when you’re confronting somebody who is trying to get you to kill them,” said McCormack. “And then you add the layer that this person that you’re dealing with has just murdered 10 innocent people, injured another 15. It really is sinking in with him right now.”

As commendations poured in from the around the world, Lam’s focus was on the many residents affected by the attack. “He was more concerned about the victims. He was devastated when we kept hearing the casualties going up, as we all were. It was a horrific scene,” said McCormack. “He said ‘Mike, I followed my experience and my training. Okay I made this arrest, which is great, but I’m just doing my job.’”

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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ATLANTA POLICE OFFICER SHOOTS A MAN DEAD AT A FAST-FOOD DRIVE-THRU

An Atlanta police officer shot and killed a man at a Wendy’s drive-thru Friday night.

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 (CNN) — An Atlanta police officer shot and killed a man at a Wendy’s drive-thru Friday night after he resisted arrest and struggled for an officer’s Taser, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.

The GBI identified the slain man as Rayshard Brooks, 27, of Atlanta.

The killing comes amid global protests and discussion of police use of force following the death of George Floyd last month in custody in Minneapolis. Atlanta has seen frequent protests, including some that turned violent.

Six Atlanta Police Department officers were facing charges of using excessive force during one, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced June 2. Two of the officers were fired by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Friday, officers responded to a call at 10:33 p.m. about a man sleeping in a parked vehicle in the drive-thru, causing other customers to drive around it, the GBI said in a statement.

Police gave Brooks a field sobriety test, which he failed, the GBI said. He resisted arrest and struggled with officers, the GBI said.

An officer drew his Taser and, witnesses said, the man grabbed it, the statement said. An officer then shot him.

Brooks was taken to a hospital, where he died, the statement said.

One officer was treated for an injury and released, the GBI said.

The GBI is investigating at the request of the APD, the statement said. Once completed, the case will be turned over to prosecutors for review.

CNN has reached out to the APD, GBI and the mayor’s office but they have not responded.

CNN affiliate WSB reports this is the 48th police shooting the GBI has investigated in 2020

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Bo Dukes Sentenced To 25 Years In Prison For Covering Up Death of Tara Grinstead

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ABBEVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A man convicted of helping hide the death of a missing Georgia teacher has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

News outlets reported that 34-year-old Bo Dukes was sentenced Friday morning in court in Abbeville.

Dukes was convicted Thursday night of lying to investigators about the 2005 death of Tara Grinstead. The high school history teacher’s body was burned to ash and bone fragments in a pecan orchard.

What happened to the woman wasn’t revealed until Dukes and another man were arrested in 2017.

Dukes was convicted of two counts of making a false statement, hindering the arrest of a criminal and concealing a death.

His co-defendant, Ryan Alexander Duke, is charged with murder in Grinstead’s death and is scheduled for trial April 1 in Irwin County.

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US Supreme Court Agrees To Decide Whether Lee Boyd Malvo Gets A New Sentence

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March 18 (UPI) — The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether a gunman in the 2002 Beltway Sniper case should receive a new sentence because he was a teenager at the time.

The random shootings terrorized the Washington, D.C., area in September and October 2002 and killed 10 people. Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad were ultimately captured and convicted of the sniper killings. Muhammad was executed in 2009 and Malvo is serving six consecutive life sentences. At the time of the shootings, Malvo was 17.

The Supreme Court issued a writ of certiorari Monday to hear the appeal next term.

At issue is a 2012 Supreme Court ruling that said juveniles cannot be given mandatory life-without-parole sentences unless they committed murder or were determined permanently incorrigible.

A Virginia court last year vacated Malvo’s sentences and asked a trial court to rule on whether his crimes reflect permanent incorrigibility or “the transient nature of youth.”

Malvo is now 34 years old.

A U.S. Court of Appeals panel called the Beltway shootings “the most heinous, random acts of premeditated violence conceivable, destroying lives and families and terrorizing the entire Washington D.C., metropolitan area for over six weeks, instilling mortal fear daily in the citizens of that community.”

The judges said, “Malvo was 17 years old when he committed the murders, and he now has the retroactive benefit of new constitutional rules that treat juveniles differently for sentencing.”

Malvo faces life without parole in Maryland, where he killed six people. That sentence was upheld in 2017 and is pending at the state Supreme Court. Muhammad, who was 25 years older than Malvo, smuggled him into the country illegally from Antigua.

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