Toronto Const. James Forcillo charged with murder in shooting death of Sammy Yatim

Toronto Const. James Forcillo, charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim, will surrender to authorities on Tuesday.

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit announced charges in the death of Yatim on Monday, stating Director Ian Scott found reasonable grounds to lay the charge of second-degree murder against the suspect officer.

Forcillo has been suspended with pay over the course of the investigation, launched after Yatim was shot dead in the early hours of July 27.

Yatim was shot while brandishing a knife on board an empty streetcar while in a standoff with police, according to an SIU investigation. As many as 23 police officers were at the site of the shooting.

Const. James Forcillo is a 6-year veteran of the Toronto police force.Video of the incident captured the moment when nine gunshots were fired, including several once Yatim had collapsed to the ground. A brief verbal exchange between Yatim and an officer believed to be Forcillo occurred shortly before the shooting.

The SIU allege a conductive energy device was also used on the victim while he was being subdued.

[ Related: Retired judge reviewing Toronto police is with law firm that has police links ]

On Monday, the SIU announced a second-degree murder charge would be laid against suspect officer Const. James Forcillo. The officer has not been taken into custody, but is scheduled to do so Tuesday morning. He is then expected to make his first court appearance.

“Because Cst Forcillo has been the recipient of threats, we are not disclosing the location of the arrest,” An SIU statement reads.

[ More Brew: Chief Bill Blair asks retired judge to review police service after Yatim shooting ]

The Yatim shooting has been a hot-button issue for the Toronto Police Service, thanks in part to the graphic nature of his death and the awareness raised by several publicly released videos.

Chief Bill Blair has promised the public that he was taking the incident seriously and tasked a retired judge to conduct an oversight investigation into the force. Ontario's ombudsman has launched a separate investigation focused on de-escalation tactics used by Ontario police forces.

 

Want to know what news is brewing in Canada?
Follow @MRCoutts on Twitter