‘Painfully slow’ progress on de-escalation training – Ontario ombudsman

Paul Dube

Ontario ombudsman Paul Dube who recommended standardized, mandatory de-escalation training for police across the province in a report he made in 2016, said last Wednesday that “progress has been painfully slow” on his recommendation on this issue.

Dube was speaking at a news conference introducing his annual report, which outlines trends and investigations his office handled between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022.

Mandatory de-escalation training was one of the recommendations he made in the wake of teenager Sammy Yatim’s death in July 2013.

Though all of those recommendations were accepted by the then-minister, Dube also said he hasn’t seen enough action in the years since on issues such as creating a new use-of-force model, revised training and issuing guidance to police services about body-worn cameras.

“We’re going to keep raising this. If we have to do another investigation, we will. It’s something we’re contemplating,” he said.

Yatmin,18, who was armed with a switchblade knife on a Toronto streetcar, was shot at nine times and was hit by eight of the shots fired by former Toronto Police officer James Forcello.

Forcillo, charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder in connection with Yatmin’s death, was found not guilty of second-degree murder but guilty of attempted murder.

On July 28, 2016, he was sentenced to six years in prison. The next day, he was granted bail pending an appeal of the court’s sentence. His appeal was denied and he was granted parole after serving two years in prison.