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Toronto Police Const. Forcillo Found Guilty Of Attempted Murder

Const. James Forcillo of the Toronto Police has been suspended with pay after being found guilty of attempted murder in the death of a Toronto teen on July 27, 2013. The jury also found him not guilty of second-degree murder, manslaughter and aggravated assault.
Forcillo was charged following the death of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim, who died after being shot several times on July 27, 2013.

The officer pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and attempted murder in Yatim's death.
Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse, Forcillo's lawyer said the verdict was "phase one of a long process." Forcillo will be back in court on May 16th.
Defence lawyer Peter Brauti said the legal team plans to file a motion requesting to stay the proceedings in March or April, and will consider an appeal. A stay of proceedings disentitles the state to a conviction because of an abuse of process.
"We say that the abuse of process is that Const. Forcillo substantially followed the police training he was given and so if the state gave him that training, they should not be entitled to a conviction in the matter," Brauti said.
"It's early days still for officer Forcillo. He's still got a lot of fight ahead of him."
Brauti called the case a "trial by YouTube," referencing the fact that a cellphone video of the shooting was posted online just minutes after the incident. He said it was probably the first trial he's worked where every potential juror said they knew about the case and had already formed an opinion.
Brauti said Forcillo will not be jailed, but will remain out on bail while other legal avenues are pursued.

In a prepared statement, Yatim's mother thanked the jurors, judge, Crown attorneys, Special Investigations Unit and victims support workers.
Sahar Bahadi wrote that the verdict was just the first step, and that she hopes to be part of the discussion to change police training policies, "so this painful incident does not repeat again.
"Nothing in this world will compensate me for the loss of my son nor will anything bring him back to me but I would like, for the sake of this great country, for the police to remain a source of confidence, security and respect for all people."

Forcillo will be suspended from the Toronto Police Service but will continue to be paid, Chief Mark Saunders said Monday.
"We have to wait until the whole process is done," Saunders said of the decision.
In the meantime, the force is working to improve how it handles people in crisis.
"Whenever police take a life, tough questions must be asked and answered. There can be no legitimacy without accountability," he said.
In a press conference following the verdict, Toronto Mayor John Tory also expressed his commitment to working with Saunders to achieve their goal of “zero deaths, zero injuries” when it comes to policing.
“Continuous improvement (and) continuous reassessment is something that I think people can feel confident is being done in this city," Tory said.
Tory proposed “modernizing” police practices with more police training in de-escalating situations involving people in crisis and a broader review of how officers interact with the public.
Tory said Yatim’s death was a “dark moment for our city” that should result in “meaningful change” in policing.
“There is and can be no satisfaction in any matter that involves the death of one of our citizens,” Tory said. "I hope people will see positive steps arising out of terrible tragedy."
Tory and Saunders also said that more needs to be done to help people suffering from mental illness in order to prevent dangerous situations like the 2013 standoff between officers and Yatim.
"We, along with those who work with the mental health community, have much work to do to provide greater supports, care and facilities for those in crisis so they get the help they need when they need it," Saunders said.
Tory said that, during a meeting with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), he heard “loud and clear” that mental health is not being adequately addressed in the city.
Through the months-long trial, jurors have heard that Yatim had taken ecstasy before boarding the streetcar. Once on board, Yatim’s behaviour, which included pulling out a small knife, caused other passengers to panic.
Jurors also heard testimony from a woman who was sitting near Yatim, and the streetcar driver who tried to calm the teen down.
Forcillo told the jury he believed Yatim was going to attack officers who responded to the 911 call. In two separate volleys, Forcillo fired nine bullets at Yatim. Eight struck the teen.
Credit: CTV News
The courtroom was packed with members of the media and friends and family of Yatim and Forcillo as the jury handed down their verdict. Yatim's mother and the president of the Toronto Police Association were also in attendance.
There was also a heavy police presence outside the courthouse.


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