The facts pertaining to James Forcillo’s murder of Sammy Yatim in July, 2013 illustrates the continued cycle of unnecessary violent deaths at the hands of policemen in recent years. Forcillo was reported to have fired two volleys of shots at the subdued and harmless teen, the first volley being three shots, and the second being six. This was an absolute atrocity due to the reaction of an official who is expected and trained to display good judgment.
This tragedy is one of the many like it in recent years, sharing mostly in its utter pointless nature, and shocking lack of good judgment. This very well could be the most violent and ridiculously callous act of law enforcement in Canada in recent memory. The alarmingly obvious question is “where is restraint in the expectations of a police officer?”
The obvious outcome should have been a de-escalation of the standoff and no injury should’ve come to any individual.
After the trial, Toronto police officer James Forcillo was found guilty of “attempted murder” but found not guilty of “second degree murder. To explain the difference of the two verdicts, Toronto lawyer Ari Goldkind stated, “The second-degree murder charge is connected to the first three shots fired by Forcillo on the streetcar. The attempted murder charge has to do with the following six shots he fired.” He further stated, “The first three shots, Sammy Yatim has the knife, he’s sort of holding the knife, he’s looking scary or he might come off the streetcar. That argument is obviously gone once the boy is lying on the ground with his spine severed.”