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Sister of man shot dead by Durham police makes plea against Taser use on day one of inquest

Toronto Star logo Toronto Star 5 days ago Jacques Gallant - Legal Affairs Reporter

Joanne MacIsaac came to the coroner’s inquest into the police shooting death of her brother Michael with a plea to the jury:

Michael MacIsaac's family as well as Sammy Yatim's mother Sahar Bahadi arrive on the first day of the inquest into the police shooting death of Michael MacIsaac. © Carlos Osorio Michael MacIsaac's family as well as Sammy Yatim's mother Sahar Bahadi arrive on the first day of the inquest into the police shooting death of Michael MacIsaac.

No more recommendations for arming all front-line officers with Tasers.

“In my opinion, the people who are being shot and killed by police are not the people shooting back, they are the vulnerable sector of society,” MacIsaac, the first witness on the stand, said Monday.

She said there needs to be specific recommendations about de-escalation, such as having officers move more slowly and not be so quick to shout at people who are clearly not responding.

“I don’t hate police officers,” she said on the stand. “I know it’s difficult to control a situation.”

Michael, 47, was shot dead by Durham police Const. Brian Taylor on an Ajax street in December 2013.

Ontario’s police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, cleared him of criminal wrongdoing.

Michael’s family believe he had suffered an epileptic seizure that day when he left his home naked, and they dispute the watchdog’s report that he was still carrying a broken table leg when shot by police.

MacIsaac also voiced concern with the effect a Taser could have possibly had on her brother given his seizure.

A recommendation to arm front-line officers with Tasers was recently made by the jury at the coroner’s inquest into the Toronto police shooting death of Andrew Loku. It had been proposed by the Toronto Police Association.

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