Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Mental health training and use of force in police are at the center of the pleadings.

Officer Forcillo’s conduct was alarming as early as 2012.

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Police officer James Forcillo leaves court in Toronto after a day of hearings at his criminal trial in 2016.

  • Jean-Philippe Nadeau ( View profile)Jean-Philippe Nadeau

The head of recruiting for the Toronto police admitted Tuesday that the conduct of ex-constable James Forcillo showed alarming signs a year before he shot the 18-year-old young man. Sammy Yatim was killed by police in 2013 when he brandished a knife on a crowded metropolis tram.

On the second day of the hearings, Police Superintendent Lisa Crooker testified on the witness stand that Officer Forcillo drew his weapon five times, one before the death of Sammy Yatim. He pointed his gun in the direction of citizens he encountered on the public highway, she said. #x27;she was unaware that he had been the subject of several complaints from the public and his colleagues.

She explains that officers who use their weapon on the job must systematically fill out a report for surveillance purposes.

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It automatically generates rapid intervention by a supervisor to control the use of force in the field, she continues.

She confirms that Agent Forcillo completed such a form after shooting Sammy Yatim on the evening of July 27, 2013.

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A friend of Sammy Yatim holds a photograph outside the courthouse at the trial of James Forcillo.

Spdte Crooker further adds that Officer Forcillo did not follow the traditional hiring process as a cadet when he was recruited into the department in 2007.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">He was hired internally and came from the Ontario Correctional Service and had worked as a security guard at Queen's Park before, but I don't know any more, she adds.

She explains that police officers who draw their weapon, with or without a valid reason, must systematically review part of their training, return to patrol with a mentor or even consult a department psychologist.

She does not know, however, whether this was the case for agent Forcillo, because she was not responsible for his file at the time.

She explains that it is up to police supervisors to investigate when they use their firearm inappropriately. Supervisors have an obligation to open an investigation when a police officer violates the code of conduct on handling firearms, she said.

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Sammy Yatim arrived from Syria to Canada with his family three years before his death, because his parents wanted him to have a better education.

Spdte Crooker, however, is unable to reveal the number of investigations that the police officer had to face in the year preceding the death of Sammy Yatim.

The coroner's investigation revealed that agent Forcillo had even drawn his weapon 10 days before the death of the young man, July 16, 2013.

She maintains that agents who are too aggressive or too docile are nevertheless subject to a professional and psychological support.

Bombarded with questions during the cross-examination of the victim's father's lawyer, Me Ed Upenieks, the superintendent interrupts, a tremor in her voice. I offer my condolences to the Yatim family, Sammy's death is a tragedy, she said.

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Sammy Yatim was killed on the night of July 27, 2013 while showing his penis to panicked passengers and brandished a knife in this city tram.

Me Upenieks asks him if there were any failures in the follow-ups on the behavior of Agent Forcillo, who particularly drew his weapon three times in the month of June 2012 alone.

Yes, there were flaws in the system and we are facing challenges this year, she acknowledges.

We can't rewrite history, but we have since closed those loopholes and added different levels of control, she adds, stuttering.

She also confirms to the lawyer that numerous reports were written following Sammy's death: the Iacobucci report on the Toronto police; the OIPRD report; the Tulloch report on the independent review of police oversight bodies and Ombudsman André Marin's report on the use of force in policing.

She admits, however, that she has not read the conclusions.

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Image from streetcar surveillance video that shows the last moments of Sammy Yatim's life before he was shot and killed by Officer Forcillo.

Deputy Crooker assures Sammy Yatim's parents that compassion and empathy are qualities her police department looks for in recruits. We are always looking at ways to improve our policing practices, she said.

She specifies that the use of cameras on police uniforms has proven effective since the events of 2013 to monitor the conduct of officers in the field.

Supervisors' review is easier, because they have more independent information to evaluate the behavior of a police officer who draws his weapon in public, he explains -she.

She says her service is also trying to improve the hiring process to only recruit the best candidates. The selection is fair, transparent and impartial, she said.

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Police officer James Forcillo leaves the Toronto courthouse after the jury's guilty verdict at his trial.

Spdte Crooker finally acknowledges with lip service that James Forcillo was kept on post after the young man's death and that he was always allowed to keep his firearm.

The police officer was suspended with pay when he faced criminal charges, then without pay when he was found guilty of end of his trial. He was fired when he lost his appeal.

James Forcillo was sentenced to six years in prison in 2016 for attempted murder .

He was acquitted of a main charge of unpremeditated murder for the first three shots he fired at the teenager. However, he was found guilty of attempted murder for the last six shots against the victim who was already lying on the floor of the tram.

He was released on parole in 2020 after four years in detention. He is represented in this coroner's inquest by lawyer Peter Brauti.

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