“I would die myself to look at his face and see his green eyes once again,” the mother of Sammy Yatim told the court as she wiped away tears during her victim impact statement at Const. James Forcillo’s sentencing hearing.
“I want to hold him in my arms, not his ashes.”
Sahar Bahadi placed photos of her son in the courtroom before each family member read aloud how their lives changed after the night Yatim was shot on a TTC bus by Const. Forcillo.
“Sammy’s life was not just the time we saw him on the streetcar, his life was so much more he was a wonderful young man,” she said. “He was the sunshine of our lives.”
Yatim, who had consumed ecstasy and was wielding a small knife on an empty streetcar, was shot nine times by Forcillo in 2013.
A jury acquitted Forcillo of second-degree murder in Yatim’s death, but found the officer guilty of attempted murder for continuing to fire after the dying teen had fallen to the floor.
“Something was wrong that night. That was not the Sammy we loved that night,” Bahadi said.”I can’t imagine how scared he was on the streetcar that night.”
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Yatim’s father, Nabil, told the court that since his son’s death he’s become a hermit and had to sell the family home because he couldn’t live with the memories of Sammy.
Calling his son “shy” and “respectful” Nabil said he can’t help but wonder what would have happened if he’d spoken to his son that night or if a different officer had been on duty.
“I saw him at my house before he went out with his friends,” he said. “I got the call the in the morning he had been shot by police.”
“He wanted to call me from the street car, he knew he was in trouble and I could have helped him but I didn’t get the chance,” he continued.
Yatim’s sister Sara also delivered a short statement, saying she no longer feels safe in Toronto or at her home.
“My brother was my life and now I have no future,” she said. ” He was the only one that made me feel safe and he is gone now.”
The death of Yatim triggered public outrage in Toronto and prompted the city’s police chief to launch a review of officers’ use of force.
The Crown is asking that Forcillo receive a sentence of eight to 10 years.