Toronto Cop Charged With Second Degree Murder After Police Shot 18-Year-Old to Death on Street Car

shot, tased by copsfamily photoLast month, I blogged about 18-year-old Sammy Yatim, who was shot nine times and then tased by police while he was wielding a knife on a street-car in an incident caught on tape. The shooting became a national news story in Canada, leading to a lot of talk about how to reform police use of force policies. Now the first charge in the case has been filed, against one of the cops* who shot Yatim. Via the CBC:

A statement issued Monday from Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit — the province's police watchdog — says the actions of Const. James Forcillo in the downtown Toronto incident this summer justify a charge of second-degree murder.

Forcillo, the officer who fired the shots, had been suspended from duty during the investigation.

And nothing else happened. In addition to the prosecution and the ongoing internal affairs investigation, there will be several others, again via the CBC:

Toronto police Chief Bill Blair has said retired justice Dennis O'Connor will lead a separate review of police procedures, use of force and police response to emotionally disturbed people in the wake of Yatim's death.

Ontario ombudsman André Marin has also launched an investigation that will probe what kind of direction the provincial government provides to police for defusing conflict situations.

It’s rare in the US that a police officer is charged after a fatal shooting.The NYPD’s Richard Haste, who shot and killed Ramarley Graham in the teenager’s bathroom after pursuing him over a hand-to-hand drug deal in 2012, was originally indicted for manslaughter but a judge threw that indictment out, and a grand jury declined to re-indict. Usually police shootings are ruled justified by local prosecutors and not even brought before grand juries.

*UPDATE: Forcillo is believed to be the only officer who shot Yatim, making him responsible for all nine shots.

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  • William of Purple||


  • Hugh Akston||

    This is why Canada fails as a nation. They need to learn that laws don't apply to people who make or enforce them.

  • Paul.||

    They're free-er than us because you can open up a hot-dog stand with fewer roadblocks.

  • Almanian!||

    But you can't criticize people (Ann Coulter- begone! not that this isn't a good idea in general, but...) or not put up road signs in French, even when no Quebecois are to be found in the vicinity.

  • ||

    Not in Montreal you can.

  • ||

    They rarely do here to, eh.

    as for hot dogs, sellin anything else is the problem.

  • Paul.||

    Forcillo, the officer who fired the shots, had been suspended from duty during the investigation.

    Nice name for a cop.

  • JW||

    "He's standing right at us!!!"

  • R C Dean||

    In his defense, the cop probably thought he had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rid the world of Justin Beiber.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Who among you wouldn't take that shot?

  • Paul.||

    *looks around nervously*

  • ||

    One or two shots....not nine.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "So you have only nine bullets and you're faced with Hitler, Stalin, Che, Beria, Himmler, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Pol Pot, Osama Bin Laden, and Justin Beiber.

    "Facing these ten, what do you do?"

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    (I bet you said "shoot Justin Beiber 9 times" - my answer was make all the mass-murderers and serial killers surrender to justice, and give Bieber music lessons.)

  • Almanian!||

    Also, he is wearing a fucking BLUE JAYS hat. And he had a knife. Sounds like a good kill police action - procedures were followed, furtive movement, totality of the circs, olympic depr lifting.


  • Paul.||

    You know, at least the guy was armed. I have to give the Toronto cop(s) at least that much.

  • AdamJ||

    I wish U.S. Citizens could override prosecutors and bring suit. Get enough signatures and have it subject to judicial review, why not? Except that a lot of judges are former prosecutors. It could be abused, yes, but can't be any worse than what we've got going now.


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