You should pay handsomely for your crimes, Mr. James Forcillo. You are a coward, who never gave a second chance to a young man who was clearly suffering mentally. You can continue to rely on the fact that he had a knife in his hands and he wouldn’t listen to your demands, but it was very clear that he was not in a normal state simply by how he was acting on the streetcar.
Can you imagine if things were the other way? Let’s assume that Officer Forcillo was the one on the streetcar, hopelessly wielding a knife, traumatized and on drugs because he was a confused teenager. Wouldn’t his family want Officer Sammy Yatim to take extra caution in trying to protect their son? Would it have been too much to ask of Sammy to just close the doors on James so Sammy could convene with his partner and the other officers on site? It is clear the handling of this situation was deplorable. It is a shame their roles weren’t reversed, as it would be the best chance for both of them to come out of that night alive. Both sides have lost a loved one. James’ kid will never look at him the same way, as time always plays out the truth and Sammy’s family will never get to live out the potential changes Sammy could have made in his life.
Officer Forcillo joins a long list of cops where a “…homicide charge laid by the SIU has [not] ever led to a finding of guilt by a jury.” If you look at the cop support an officer gets when they are charged, it would sicken you. No matter what happens, the support will be there for a crook cop that murdered someone. Thankfully he will be sent to jail for a period of time, but too bad it is not long enough. I wonder what friends he will make while languishing in prison. The approach the defense took in this case is the picturesque method of claiming the force used was necessary, while all the cop witnesses claim they didn’t know what Sammy was going to do next. The reality is, they are all lying through their teeth, and they deserve to be held accountable. Especially that scumbag Dan Pravica! There are 3 main points in this trial where the defense completely lost my support:
- Self-defense argument
- Testimony of Sgt. Dan Pravica (LIES!)
- The moments before the shots
The self-defense argument should be put to rest, permanently for this case. The famous definition of self-defense talks about excessive use of force, where if someone punches a man who has a bat, the bat can be swung once to nullify the situation, but the bat wielder will turn into the attacker should they chase after the man who laid the first punch. This is the same in this situation. Officer Forcillo only needed to shoot Sammy Yatim once. That’s it. All it took was one bullet to the foot, or even to the hand. But, instead, this crazed maniac of a cop decided to send 9 bullets at Sammy. Sammy never motioned to stab anyone, and the cops had a massive neutral zone to work with should Sammy have taken the next steps down the stairs of the streetcar. I think by the definition of self-defense, it is clear that the first 3 shots were unnecessary and the next 6 were clearly unwarranted. The fact he shot nine times shows intent to murder, and as such, he should be imprisoned for life on 1st degree murder charges. Think about it; there were so many other options to calm the situation. They could have closed the door and trapped Sammy in the streetcar. They could have tasered him first, instead of an afterthought. Perhaps even just trying to talk it out with him, or allow him to call his dad. The problem here is there was no attempt to deescalate the situation, which meant imminent doom for Sammy. He wanted the attention and Officer Forcillo was going to give it to him.
Testimony of Dan Pravica
As the Toronto Sun put it, “Pravica said he perceived that Yatim “was trying to get up” but focussed solely on the knife in his hand.” This doesn’t make any sense! How could you possibly perceive that Sammy Yatim was trying to get up when he was paralyzed by a bullet to his spine? This makes absolutely ZERO sense, and it is obvious that you tasered Sammy as means to try and justify Forcillo’s bullets. Not only is this cop a liar, he comes across as a complete dickhead too. Who would say “How did I know he was dying? He wasn’t saying he was dying?” in a trial, where Sammy’s mom is sitting in the front row. I feel these comments illustrate the kind of sick tendency cops have to be bullies, dickheads, and liars. They will do anything to save their brother. I hope you rot in hell Pravica. You are clearly a LIAR with no respect for integrity during a trial. I think it might be time for you to suffer the consequences of a trial yourself. I guess the $7 Million lawsuit against you, Forcillo, and the Toronto Police Service should serve up some justice financially. If I ever run into you, I truly hope it is me trying to help you, as I am sure you will see a way to not help me if I am in need. Your description of Sammy while he was on the ground sounds like a boy dying, rather than someone trying to stab you.
One of the biggest piss-off comments that have come from Dan Pravica is something I read in the Globe. He actually says the reason for his tasering was to ensure that Sammy gets quicker medical attention. How is that even possible? Perhaps you should have shot him with the taser first, rather than after 9 shots being sent his way. Where was your leadership before the shooting, Dan? Perhaps you lot of pansies would be better suited for another job that does not require the utmost amount of empathy possible. You should have asked yourself, ‘what is this poor boy possibly suffering from right now?’ What about looking at a situation in terms of getting everyone out of it alive. I hope that night haunts you forever.
The Moments Before the Shots
It is clear that 60 seconds is much too short of a time to try and deescalate the scenario. Immediately, you see Yatim back-off in the video when the cops arrive. Disturbing to think that none of the cops took that into account. It is also interesting to note that the TTC driver did not seem to be panicked by the presence of Sammy. Yes he eventually ran off, but you can tell that he knew Sammy was acting odd rather than murderous. The cop that pulls up on the bike had it right. He didn’t even draw his gun out of the holster! He came from a place of protection, rather than shoot to kill. Here we are, 2.5 years later, and an officer has lost his life, the Yatim family will always grieve for their loss, and cops can still get away with murder.
This should at least be a lesson to all cops. Do not shoot unless you are convinced it is a necessity to thwart danger. A kid in a streetcar that is 15 feet away, with no chance of attacking you, is not a threat. The need to bully a teenager that is not listening to your demands, is not the best way to get through a situation like this. You are better of with not approaching with guns drawn. Instead, try talking to the kid. Maybe allow him to speak with his parents. CLOSE THE DOOR between all of you. Just because you are 60 seconds in and someone isn’t listening does not mean you deserve to shoot someone. You also show how much of a murderous scumbag you are when you then proceed to shoot 6 more times when it is clear that the boy cannot cause anymore harm.