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Most approve of murder charges for Forcillo: Exclusive CityNews poll

Last Updated Jan 22, 2016 at 2:29 pm EDT

James Forcillo was cross-examined by the Crown on Nov. 27, 2015. CITYNEWS/Marianne Boucher.

Most Toronto residents believe murder charges were justified in the fatal streetcar shooting of Sammy Yatim, according to an exclusive CityNews poll conducted by Forum Research.

The random sampling of 546 Toronto adults found 66 per cent approved of charging Const. James Forcillo with murder. Just 18 per cent disapproved, while 16 per cent had no opinion.

Residents between the ages of 35 and 44 (75 per cent) who live downtown (73 per cent) were most likely to approve of the murder charge.

It appears the highly-publicized case has not shattered the public’s faith in police. The poll found that 78 per cent have trust in Toronto police, with 33 per cent saying they have a “great deal of trust.”

Despite the public’s vote of confidence, about a quarter of those polled don’t think Toronto police are doing a good job of weeding out unfit officers during recruiting and training. Thirty-six per cent think screening is appropriate.

“Torontonians are very familiar with the Forcillo case, and most see it as appropriate that he was charged with murder. Despite this, most trust their police force, and expect it to protect them from rogue officers,” said Forum Research President, Lorne Bozinoff.

Forcillo has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and attempted murder in the July 2013 shooting death of 18-year-old Yatim.

The jury is currently deliberating.

Videos and audio played at the trial showed Forcillo arrive on the scene and repeatedly command Yatim to drop a knife he was wielding. After a brief standoff, Forcillo fired nine bullets.

Forcillo’s lawyers had applied for a change of venue, asking that the trial be held anywhere in Ontario except Toronto because of intense media coverage.

That request was denied.

Close to half (45 per cent) of those polled felt the outcome of the trial would not have been different if the request was granted.