Thursday, October 22, 2015

Re-visiting the Execution of Sammy Yatim

Jurors in a Toronto courtroom had to watch video of the July, 2013 killing of Sammy Yatim by constable James Forcillo who now stands charged with 2nd degree murder.

Forcillo emptied his nine-round revolver, eight of his bullets striking Yatim. What I believe is particularly telling is the five second pause.

Forcillo fired three rounds, dropping Yatim to the floor of the TTC streetcar. Then five seconds elapsed before Forcillo resumed firing. Three more rounds, pause, the eighth shot, pause, the ninth and final shot.

Forcillo fired from the curb, several feet from the door of the bus, further still from his victim. The shooter was surrounded by fellow cops not one of whom intervened to prevent Forcillo from unloading the rest of his clip into the already downed Yatim.

Not seen until today was the onboard video which, at the 4:20 mark shows Forcillo begin to fire. The video leaves no doubt that a) Yatim never even set foot in the bus stairwell and b) that he went down with the first shots. After that Forcillo was simply emptying his gun into a dying body.  It's also telling that, prior to the arrival of police, the bus driver casually exits the bus. He doesn't flee to safety but remains at the bottom of the stairwell and then, just as casually, returns to his driver's station. Eventually he does leave the bus only this time he's running.


Anonymous said...

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Anon: I posted the link to the onboard video above.

Anonymous said...

In North America police are brainwashed to "stand their ground." This killing would not have happened in more enlightened societies...

Cathie from Canada said...

What I found telling was the lack of reaction from the other police. They just stood there while a fellow officer, supposedly in fear for his life, blazed away. They didn't take cover or join in or anything. They acted like nothing unusual was going on at all.

The Mound of Sound said...

You're quite right, Cathie. YouTube is flooded with cellphone videos of cops beating up or executing citizens and, in most of them, the cop doing the killing or beating is surrounded by other officers.

We constantly refuse to hold these bystander cops accountable for failure to restrain their own when these lines are crossed.

In this case, even if there was some plausible justification for those first three shots - and there was none, absolutely none - after that five second pause the remaining six shots Forcillo took should have been prevented. Cops were standing to both sides of the shooter. No one tried to disarm Forcillo or even told him to cease fire. That is murderous dereliction of duty for which those cops should all be fired.

When we trust individuals with side arms, we impose on them and they accept a grave responsibility governing their use. This was murder and Forcillo's comrades facilitated it.