Sunday, January 31, 2016
The Killing of Sammy Yatim: Should Another Cop Be Charged?
It's been almost a week since the Toronto police officer James Forcillo was found guilty of the attempted murder of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim.
Even though he killed him, and it was murder.
And now there are calls for another police officer to be charged for what he did to Yatim after he was shot.
Tasering him as he lay there dead or dying with eight bullets in his body.
Lawyer Peter Rosenthal told the Star he believes Sgt. Dan Pravica — who Tasered Yatim on an empty streetcar in July 2013 after he was shot by Forcillo — should be charged at least with assault. “As Sammy Yatim lay on the floor of the streetcar, he did not pose any danger to anyone,” Rosenthal said.
“Thus, Tasering him was a completely unjustified assault. We cannot know if Mr. Yatim felt any effect of the Tasering as he died, but it was an assault in any event. If Mr. Yatim was actually dead by then, it would be an attempted assault. The officer should be charged.”
And as someone who was as horrified by that barbarous act, as much as I was horrified by that senseless shooting, I can only wonder why charges have not yet been laid.
And whether the officer who tasered that bullet riddled teenager, is being given special treatment, like the killer himself.
Rather than being remanded in custody, as usually happens after an attempted murder verdict, Forcillo was escorted from the courthouse by police on Monday afternoon. "I can't think of any other case where my clients have been carted off by the police to their homes," said Brown. "Normally they're taken to jail."
Because that would be a big mistake.
Many Torontonians are outraged enough by the verdict. And any hint of special treatment can only further undermine their confidence in the city's police force.
Toronto voters’ trust in local police officers dropped sharply between the beginning of jury deliberations in the trial of Const. James Forcillo and the days following the guilty verdict, according to a new Forum Research poll.
In a poll done on Jan. 20, 78 per cent of respondents said they trusted Toronto police officers. But, by Jan. 29, that number had fallen to 63 per cent, according to a second, more extensive poll. Thirty-seven per cent also said they trusted Toronto police officers less than they did a year ago.
Which in a city the size of Toronto couldn't be more unfortunate or more dangerous.
I am not anti-police, I happen to know that there are many decent and dedicated officers. But they will do themselves no good if they allow blind loyalty to a bad cop to lead them down the wrong path.
So for their sake, and for the sake of the citizens of Toronto, and in the name of human decency.
That tragic case should not be closed, until all the guilty are properly punished, the lessons are fully learned.
And there is finally justice for Sammy Yatim...
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