In what sounds like what could have been an avoidable occurrence, dash cam video from a Toronto Police car has surfaced showing a terrible incident. A mentally ill man, Michael Eligon, 29, who had just escaped from a mental hospital where he was being treated for depression, was shot and killed with a pair of scissors in his hand.
Apparently after escaping the hospital, Eligon had made his way to a nearby convenience store and stolen two pairs of scissors. When the attendant tried to stop the man, Eligon stabbed him in the hand. The man had also attempted to steal two sets of car keys from local residents but was scared away.
Upon arriving to the scene after receiving emergency phone calls, they found Eligon wandering in resident’s back yards wearing only his hospital gown and socks.
The video starts with several armed police officers pointing their weapons at Eligon and yelling, “Drop it. Drop the knife now.”
The man, with his mental state unknown, noncompliantly wandered around with the scissors out in front of him which was being perceived as an aggressive gesture. The police officers, who have Eligon completely surrounded, were reportedly waiting for the sergeant carrying a Taser.
Constable Scott Walker recalls the event saying, “I remember looking into his eyes. He seemed disoriented, he seemed as though he had lost touch with reality and he had a blank stare.”
The situation intensified when one officer had backed into a car placing him within dangerously close proximity of Eligon. Constable Andrew Boyd felt that “Mr Eligon could have lunged forward in a fraction of a second,” and in order to prevent that from happening, ordered his men to, “Shoot him.”
An officer, who had only been on the force for 9 months, pulled the trigger three times resulting in Eligon collapsing to the ground.
You can hear police calling for an ambulance stating that they had shot the man – but it was too late.
The officer who shot the man has cleared his investigation and returned to duty. “Const. Boyd told the inquest on Wednesday that the police’s actions were justifiable as their lives were in danger.”
Do you think access to non-lethal equipment is just cause for lethal force?