Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit has announced that the Toronto police officer who fatally shooting a man wielding a hammer in an apartment building last July will not be facing charges. According to the SIU, the officer was backed into a corner and feared a serious attack before shooting the 45-year-old Andrew Loku at a distance of two to three metres and that is a justifiable use of force.
However, critics are pointing out that it is more important to find out if police could have avoided such a high-stakes confrontation with Mr. Loku, who lived in housing for people with mental illness. A member of the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition and former mayor, John Sewell, inquired that “how come the police officers … didn’t have the mental-health-crisis intervention team there at the first minute?”
Whereas on the other hand, the SIU statement revealed that officers acted quickly after a 911 call from a woman in the northwest Toronto apartment building, saying a man with a hammer was threatening to kill her. According to the statement issued by SIU director, Tony Loparco, “from that moment, it was a matter of seconds until the shooting, at which time I have no doubt that the subject officer feared for his life and that of his partner.” Thereafter, the responding officers found themselves in a hallway and drew their guns asking him to drop his hammer several times. The SIU investigators were told Mr. Loku kept approaching and raised the hammer over his head, saying ‘What you gonna do, come on, shoot me.’”
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