Watch: Hundreds of people gathered in Toronto to protest the shooting death of Sammy Yatim.
TORONTO – A memorial is growing at the site of the recent fatal shooting of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim aboard a TTC streetcar.
And hundreds of Torontonians participated in a protest march Monday evening to bring further awareness to the police shooting that has raised the ire of many across Toronto.
Yatim’s mother and sister were among the crowd of protesters that stretched more than a block as marchers left a downtown square for the west-end intersection where the teenager died on Saturday morning.
Barely able to speak, Sammy’s mother repeated her son’s name over and over again, her hand reaching for a photo of him.
The shooting has sparked a flood of anger at Toronto police, who have suspended an officer involved in the shooting.
The crowd chanted “Shame!” with a handful of protesters angrily confronting police monitoring the march. Marchers briefly stopped outside a local police station, venting at the force’s handling of the incident.
— OCAP (@OCAPtoronto) July 29, 2013
The protest started at 5 p.m. with hundreds of people gathering at Yonge and Dundas Square. The protest then moved west along Dundas Street stopping at various intersections and police stations along the way.
Yatim was killed during an altercation with police late on Friday night while aboard the 505 TTC streetcar on Dundas Street West near Bellwoods Avenue.
The shooting is being investigated by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).
A Facebook group, Sammy’s Fight for Justice, with almost 6,000 likes as of 4 p.m. has become a rallying point for people ahead of the planned protest.
“Can’t wait to see your posters and support and please don’t forget this is a civilized protest for anyone who is against the injustice way police officers treat innocent people, and it is also a memorial for Sammy!” a post on the page reads.
The shooting has many people, including Yatim’s mother, questioning why the police fired nine shots at her son.
“The thing I care that, they shoot my kid, my son and I didn’t know why. I watched the video, he was standing with a knife, not with a [gun] but with a knife and I felt that he was very afraid, I felt it. I felt that he was very afraid,” Sahar Bahadi told Global News in an interview at her Toronto home.
And a memorial of flowers and anonymous notes has grown around a light pole near Dundas Street West and Bellwoods Avenue where the shooting happened. Messages left in tribute to Yatim read “You were everyone’s son, everyone’s child” and “you asked for help and we failed you.”
Another message, taped to the pole, read simply “You mattered.”
– With files from The Canadian Press
© Shaw Media, 2013