SIU charges cop with murder
TORONTO—Ontario’s police watchdog has charged a Toronto police officer with second-degree murder in the shooting death of an 18-year-old man on a streetcar.
Sammy Yatim died last month after being shot multiple times and Tasered on an empty streetcar.
The final six shots appear to come after Yatim already had fallen to the floor of the streetcar.
The Special Investigations Unit announced today it has charged Cst. James Forcillo with second-degree murder.
“The director of the Special Investigations Unit, Ian Scott, has reasonable grounds to believe that a Toronto Police Service officer committed a criminal offence in relation to the shooting death of 18-year-old Sammy Adib Yatim,” the SIU said in a release.
The SIU said Forcillo has not yet been arrested because an arrest warrant was just issued.
He was suspended from the police force last month.
Yatim’s sister took to Twitter to share her reaction to news of the SIU charge.
“The SIU charged the cop with 2nd degree murder!!! Good morning JUSTICE,” tweeted Sarah Yatim.
Peter Brauti, the lawyer representing Forcillo, could not immediately be reached for comment.
In addition to the SIU’s investigation, Toronto’s police chief 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 Sammy Yatim’s death.
Chief Bill Blair has said he understands the public has many questions about police conduct in Yatim’s case, and has said O’Connor’s review will be “extraordinary” in its scope.
Ontario’s ombudsman also has launched an investigation—probing what kind of direction the provincial government provides to police for defusing conflict situations.
Andre Marin has said Yatim’s shooting raises the question of whether it’s time for Ontario to have consistent and uniform guidelines on how police should de-escalate situations before they lead to the use of force.