Const. Forcillo found guilty of attempted murder

Toronto Police Const. James Forcillo has been found guilty of attempted murder in the death of a Toronto teen but the jury also found him not guilty of second-degree murder, manslaughter and aggravated assault.

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Forcillo was charged following the death of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim, who died after being shot several times on July 27, 2013.

The officer pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and attempted murder in Yatim's death.

Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse, Forcillo's lawyer said the verdict was "phase one of a long process."

Defence lawyer Peter Brauti said the legal team plans file a motion requesting to stay the proceedings in March or April, and will consider an appeal. A stay of proceedings disentitles the state to a conviction because of an abuse of process.

"We say that the abuse of process is that Const. Forcillo substantially followed the police training he was given and so if the state gave him that training, they should not be entitled to a conviction in the matter," Brauti said.

"It's early days still for Officer Forcillo. He's still got a lot of fight ahead of him."

Brauti called the case a "trial by YouTube," referencing the fact that a cellphone video of the shooting was posted online just minutes after the incident. He said it was probably the first trial he's worked where every potential juror said they knew about the case and had already formed an opinion.

Brauti said Forcillo will not be jailed, but will remain out on bail while other legal avenues are pursued.

Through the months-long trial, jurors have heard that Yatim had taken ecstasy before boarding the streetcar. Once on board, Yatim’s behaviour, which included pulling out a small knife, caused other passengers to panic.

Jurors also heard testimony from a woman who was sitting near Yatim, and the streetcar driver who tried to calm the teen down.

Forcillo told the jury he believed Yatim was going to attack officers who responded to the 911 call. In two separate volleys, Forcillo fired nine bullets at Yatim. Eight struck the teen.

CTV Toronto's Austin Delaney reported that the courtroom was packed with members of the media and friends and family of Yatim and Forcillo. Yatim's mother and the president of the Toronto Police Association were also in attendance.

There was also a heavy police presence outside the courthouse.

This is a developing story. More to come…


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