TORONTO – A Toronto police officer at the centre of the investigation into the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old on a TTC streetcar has been identified, CityNews reports.
Lawyer Peter Brauti said Const. James Forcillo is the subject officer of a probe by the province’s Special Investigations Unit into the death of Sammy Yatim.
In accordance with provincial rules, Forcillo has been suspended with pay.
Yatim was shot to death early Saturday morning aboard a TTC streetcar on Dundas Street West near Bellwoods Avenue. The province’s police watchdog is investigating.
Nine shots can be heard on the bystander video, first three shots in succession then six more after a pause of about six seconds. Yatim was shot multiple times, the SIU has said. The Taser later used, according to the agency.
In addition to the SIU investigation, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair has said his force will do a review.
Brauti said he is reviewing the case and has not yet decided whether to recommend Forcillo submit to an SIU interview.
He said his client — a six-year veteran — is devastated, according to CityNews.
Brauti urged the public to withhold judgement until investigators gather all evidence surrounding the fatal shooting.
“There is a lot of evidence that still hasn’t been reviewed and there’s still evidence that people out in the general public aren’t privy to,” Brauti said.
“There’s still a lot of different perspectives that need to be explored and once we have all of that in front of us, people can form informed opinions about the circumstances.”
Const. Forcillo appears to be married with children, based on social media profiles.
He was paid $106,800 in 2012, according to the province’s “Sunshine List” — the public sector salary disclosure list.
Meanwhile, a witness named Aaron Li-Hill, who was on the streetcar right before the incident, told the CBC he used his bicycle as a buffer between himself, his girlfriend and Yatim.
He said the teen never held the knife at him, but that he had it pointed straight up in the air.
Li-Hill also said he didn’t feel like Yatim was in a state of malicious intent, but added “that at any moment he could have stabbed many of the people who were there.”
The National Post reports it has learned that Const. Forcillo first called for a Taser to be brought to the scene.
Meanwhile, Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin said his agency will assess whether an investigation is warranted in the case. The assessment will look into the guidelines police work under when de-escalating situations that may end up in force.
Marin said his work will not interfere with the SIU probe of the fatal incident.
–With files from CityNews.ca