Mother still waiting after Sammy Yatim inquest delayed again, almost 10 years after police shooting

Toronto teenager Sammy Yatim is shown in a photo from the Facebook page 'R.I.P Sammy Yatim.' (Facebook/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Toronto teenager Sammy Yatim is shown in a photo from the Facebook page 'R.I.P Sammy Yatim.' (Facebook/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Nearly 10 years after Sammy Yatim was fatally shot by a Toronto police officer while in the throes of a mental health crisis on an empty streetcar, his mother will have to re-listen to the circumstances that led to his death during a coroner's inquest.

"It took a lot of time, after more than nine years," said Yatim's mother, Sahar Bahadi.

Having to relive the details of Yatim's shooting is like rubbing salt on the wound, Bahadi said.

"Sammy was a very good guy. He was so sweet, delicate," Bahadi told CBC Radio's Metro Morning Monday. "He was so protective [over] his sister [and] the family and he doesn't deserve that end."

A coroner's inquest was initially set to begin Monday but has been pushed back indefinitely after a motion was brought forward Sunday that halted the inquest, the coroner's office said.

Stephanie Rea, a spokesperson for the Office of the Chief Coroner, said the inquest cannot proceed until a decision on the motion is made.

Rea said the motion is expected to be heard on Nov. 21, noting that a new date for the start of the inquest will be scheduled once a decision on the motion has been issued.

Bahadi said while she feels "anxious" to hear about the circumstances that led to her son's death once again, she is "disappointed" the hearing will be held online and not in person.

It was July of 2013 when former Toronto police officer James Forcillo shot Yatim, 18, eight times before another officer Tasered the teen. He was seen on surveillance video holding a knife in the moments before police arrived. Video of the confrontation between Yatim and police was widely viewed online.

Forcillo was convicted in 2016 of attempted murder and later convicted of perjury for claiming to be living with his ex-wife while on bail awaiting his appeal, when he had in fact moved in with his new fiancée.

He was sentenced to six-and-a-half years behind bars and was granted full parole in 2020.

LISTEN | Yatim's mother says process needs to be sped up:

The inquest is expected to hear from 11 witnesses over 10 days.

Coroner's inquests make recommendations aimed at preventing future deaths under similar circumstances.

"I hope it will have new recommendations that benefit the people, the public and victims," Bahadi said.

In 2016, Ontario ombudsman Paul Dube recommended standardized, mandatory de-escalation training for police across the province.

In August, more than six years later, Dube said progress was "painfully slow."