Family of Sammy Yatim says now is the time to heal

TORONTO – The family a young Toronto man fatally shot in an altercation with Toronto police has cancelled a news conference that had been scheduled for this afternoon.

In a statement to the media late Tuesday, Sammy Yatim`s family said they “do not have the energy right now to comment” and that they are “trying to heal and regain some sense of normalcy.“

Earlier Tuesday, Const. James Forcillo was charged with second-degree murder in Yatim’s death, then released on $510,000 bail.

Forcillo, 30, appeared in court after surrendering to authorities on an arrest warrant that was issued on Monday before after Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit pressed charges.

Yatim’s family said they were relieved by the charge, but hope the SIU will look into the actions of the supervising officers and other officers who were on scene.

Yatim was shot multiple times and Tasered on an empty streetcar last month. It was captured on surveillance and cellphone video on which nine shots can be heard following shouts for him to drop a knife.

Superior Court Justice Gary Trotter’s reasons for setting Forcillo free on bail are under a publication ban.

Forcillo showed no discernable reaction when he appeared in court on Tuesday morning for a first appearance and in the afternoon when he and his lawyers attended the bail hearing.

Lawyer Peter Brauti said outside court that Forcillo, who has an “excellent” policing background, is someone who should be released. The speed with which he got out is unusual, Brauti acknowledged.

Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack — who attended Forcillo’s court appearance — said this has been a stressful time for the officer, who has received death threats.

In addition to the SIU’s investigation, Toronto’s police chief has said retired justice Dennis O’Connor will lead a separate review of police procedures, use of force and police response to emotionally disturbed people in the wake of Yatim’s death.

Ontario’s ombudsman has also launched an investigation, probing what kind of direction the provincial government provides to police for defusing conflict situations.

Forcillo’s next court appearance is Sept. 30, when he will return to provincial court for a judicial pre-trial.