The police constable charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim aboard a streetcar last summer has returned to work with the Toronto Police Service, despite an ongoing inquiry into the case against him.
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Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack told CBC News that Const. James Forcillo has been working in the force's Crime Stoppers unit since Feb. 11, after a seven-month suspension with pay.
"[Const. Forcillo] is on 'super restricted duties' that are administrative in nature. He's not directly involved with any investigations or any direct contact with the public," McCormack said.
In his role, Forcillo does not have a firearm and does not wear a TPS uniform, McCormack said.
The decision to allow Forcillo to return to work in a new capacity was ultimately made by police Chief Bill Blair, McCormack said, but "the call was not made in a vacuum."
"When officers are suspended, there is a constant re-evaluation of that position, which is done by our professional standards unit. Its constantly monitored and at some point if they can find meaningful work for the officer that doesn’t compromise the integrity of the police service or public safety or public confidence … they bring the officer back to work in a very limited capacity."
According to McCormack, "the situation is not unusual for officers who have been suspended."
A preliminary inquiry that began Tuesday will determine if the Crown has enough evidence to move forward with the second-degree murder charge against Forcillo, 30. He's accused in the death of Yatim last July.
The incident was recorded by security cameras and on amateur cellphone video. Nine shots can be heard on the videos, following shouts from police for Yatim to drop a knife he was reportedly holding during the confrontation.
The final six shots appear to come after Yatim had already fallen to the floor of the streetcar.
The inquiry is set to run until May 9, and then continue from June 16-20.