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VICE Canada Reports

Will a Toronto Police Project Help Prevent the Next Sammy Yatim Shooting?

After 18-year-old Sammy Yatim on a streetcar in Toronto, the cops are adopting bodycams—but will the devices prevent violence, or turn into a tool for surveillance?

In May 2015, Toronto Police Service began a year-long body-worn camera pilot program. A hundred officers were chosen to wear the cameras throughout their shifts. The program came in the wake of recommendations after the 2013 police shooting of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim on a streetcar. The footage from that shooting was uploaded to YouTube and James Forcillo, the police constable who shot him, was found guilty of attempted murder in a landmark ruling. But civil liberties groups have cautioned that the cameras could become a tool for mass surveillance if not used under strict guidelines.

In this video, VICE Canada sits down with the executive director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Sukanya Pillay, to talk about the implications of police wearing body cameras and follows two Toronto constables participating in the bodycam project on their regular patrol route. Toronto Police Sergeant Michael Barsky explains how cameras could change police and the public's behaviour.