The video has since received more than 600,000 views on You Tube.Mainstream news outlets piled on: a January search for “Sam- my Yatim” on the CP24 website yielded 66 results.Then another officer Tasered the 18-year-old as he lay on the ground.
It wasn’t long before reporters contacted him with interview requests.“Having that video was huge in terms of getting the amount of coverage that it did,” says former reporter and photographer Jim Rankin adds, “You can count the bullets, you can count the seconds, you can see what the officers are doing.” Baron’s video—and others from that night—offered a rare look into a tragic incident and shaped how journalists pursued the story of the police shooting.James Forcillo as the officer under investigation, some colleagues were concerned about how the Toronto Police Service (TPS) would react.Before citizen video, coverage was based only on witness accounts and police statements.Cellphones allow the public to capture events as they happen.
Video, Baron says, “provokes an emotional response without having to think about it.” And the existence of video shot by citizen journalists, as in the case of Yatim, leads to more coverage and more in-depth analysis from professional journalists.Although the coverage soon improved, gurney says, “The first few days were a whole lot of outrage, not a lot of information.” Torontonians were galvanized.Hundreds of people marched on July 29, protesting what they believed to be the use of excessive force. ” Another rally took place in mid-August, when hundreds of people marched to police headquarters to demand “justice for Sammy” while the Toronto Police Services Board met inside.In some cases, dashboard video (from police cruisers) or surveillance video captured the shootings, but that footage didn’t go viral or wasn’t released until much later.In the case of Sylvia Klibingaitis, who was killed by a police officer in 2011, the dashboard video wasn’t released until the October 2013 inquest into her death and the deaths of two others. Once the Special Investigations unit (SIU) looks into an incident—as it must whenever a police incident results in a serious injury or death—officers are prohibited from discussing it.“To some extent, the video was the story,” says columnist Matt Gurney agrees, adding that the initial coverage was repetitive and broadcasters took a “let’s see that video now” attitude.