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Sammy Yatim’s killer, Toronto Police Constable James Forcillo, has had a confusing end to his trial. The jury found Forcillo not quilty of second degree murder and manslaughter. They found he was justified in firing the first three shots (which killed Yatim) but not justified in the the latter six shots (which didn’t).

Overall, Yatim was shot nine times by Forcillo on July 27, 2013 while on an emptied TTC streetcar in downtown Toronto. Yatim was armed with a small knife.

After Yatim was shot, he was tasered.

Forcillo was found guilty of attempted murder in the death of the teen for the latter six shots.

According to Sammy Yatim’s father, his son was troubled in the early hours that summer morning but he would later define such behaviour as out of character for the quiet and shy teenager. Regardless, his father explained that his son knew he needed help and was trying to reach out to family, but could not find someone to lend him a cellphone.

From the testimony the train noted that they were concerned and actively looking for Yatim, right before this altercation, that the 18-year old was distraught and if he had been able to do speak with a member of the Toronto crisis unit or another agencies that believed in de-escalation, things might have been different. 

Of everything I knew at the trial and even before the trial when speculations abound, it’s like dealing with two different Torontos: one of the mentally ill and one for the average population. There are different sets of rules. 

The ruling against Yatim is quite a confusion, especially with the taser allowed. I’m pretty much thinking what a lot of Torontonians were thinking: why would anyone on the Toronto Police Force taser a teenager once he was dead or shot nine times?

There is still the case of what happened and why an officer decided to Taser Yatim after he had already endured nine close range shots. I’m wondering how many of those police officers still felt threatened by Yatim, riddled with bullets, paralyzed.

In late January 28, 2016, there was a growing call among supporters from all walks of life want to if any new evidence can be found against Forcillo, if not others.

The action that citizens want the police to explore the alleged Tasering of Yatim by — Sgt. Dan Pravica (note, the allegations against him have not yet been proven in a court of law). Citizens and lobby groups want him to stand trial for his part in the killing of Yasim.

They are asking at the very least for an internal review, but also possible charges including assault with a deadly weapon or assault with bodily harm, should the evidence support it.

While researching these allegations, hopefully the test product of police dash cameras will provide better clarity in regards to what happens a civilian and a police officer in our future.

Photo: Flickr/salty_soul

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Krystalline Kraus

krystalline kraus is an intrepid explorer and reporter from Toronto, Canada. A veteran activist and journalist for rabble.ca, she needs no aviator goggles, gas mask or red cape but proceeds fearlessly...