Yatim family feels 'a whole new kind of pain' after former cop who shot teen is granted full parole

The mother and sister of Sammy Yatim — the teen fatally shot by a police officer on a Toronto streetcar in 2013 — reiterated their call for justice as the officer was granted full parole.

Speaking at a press conference Friday, Yatim's mother Sahar Bahadi said the family had not been informed about James Forcillo's hearing before the Parole Board of Canada this week.

"Granting Forcillo parole without notifying us of this parole claim broke us completely," Bahadi said.

"This decision in our absence created a whole new kind of pain and ethically is not acceptable. I gave the judicial system, the police and the lawyers the benefit of doubt and they let me down over and over again."

Yatim was shot by Forcillo aboard an empty streetcar, and then Tasered by another officer.

Forcillo, now 37, was convicted of attempted murder in 2016, and began serving prison time in November 2017 after his appeal was rejected.

CBC

His sentence was supposed to last six years, five months and 29 days, according to the Parole Board of Canada document outlining his parole. Forcillo was previously granted day parole after 21 months in prison — a move that surprised and shocked Yatim's family. 

A judge handed Forcillo that sentence following an unusual verdict by a Toronto jury, which found Forcillo guilty of attempted murder, but not second-degree murder, despite the fact that Yatim died aboard the streetcar.

During Friday's press conference, Bahadi again questioned the rationale for sentencing Forcillo for only six years and granting him parole less than two years later.

"What I don't understand is how can you charge him with attempted murder when my son is dead," she said.

"I'm calling again, we need justice for Sammy and everyone who is or was a victim of police brutality. I lost faith and trust … I feel injustice and fear … but I will not stop fighting and advocating for my Sammy."


Bahadi said losing her son was the hardest thing she's had to deal with and her daughter Sara Ann Yatim has not been the same since his death.

"I don't have a life. How can I have a life," Sara Ann Yatim said. "My brother is dead. I lost everything in my life."

She said she is exhausted, but says the family will keep fighting until her brother gets the justice he deserves.

"My brother won't be resting in peace until [Forcillo] is back behind bars."