Forcillo is the only officer facing charges. The police may offer more training in the future, but they have been saying they will improve training for decades. I offer a Proposal to ensure that the other officers are accountable and learn from experiences like this.
- Police at the scene of a violent encounter with a person in crisis (PIC) have a mandatory debrief.
- During training, police have an experience of institutionalization (1-3 nights) in a forensic mental health facility or prison.
- All officers who fail to deescalate a situation involving a PIC have to reenter the insitutionalization process for training purposes.
|Const. James Forcillo, left, is accused of second-degree murder and attempted murder in the 2013 shooting of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim, right. (Toronto Star)|
The verdict is disappointing for both sides. Forcillo is likely going to jail with a target on his back as a police officer. No one else is being held to account.
Yatim's family will have to live with this forever:
“Sammy was a young man who had his whole future ahead of him. Because of what the police did, we lost him forever. Nothing in this world will compensate me for the loss of my son, nor will anything bring him back to me, but I would like, for the sake of this great country, that the police remain a source of confidence, security and respect for all people.”Toronto Star gives a longer account of the verdict:
However, they clearly found that the second volley of shots fired five-and-a-half seconds later was neither justifiable or in self-defence. The finding of guilt suggests the jury felt Yatim was no longer a threat when Forcillo fired at him six times, striking him five times in his lower part of his paralyzed body but not causing the fatal injuries that led to his death, possibly before he was Tasered by another officer.
...Defence counsel for Forcillo characterized the verdicts as a “compromise” but repeatedly said this is just Phase 1. Over the two weeks in May set aside for a sentencing hearing, the defence will bring an abuse-of-process application to have the charges stayed. Following that, they will seek to prove the mandatory minimum sentence for attempted murder is unconstitutional.The challenge is to find ways to stop this from happening in the future. Incentives for police must align with the interests of the public. Avoiding training institutionalization would encourage other officers to stop their aggressive partners.