Toronto

James Forcillo, ex-officer who shot and killed teen on streetcar, granted full parole

James Forcillo, the former Toronto police officer who shot teenager Sammy Yatim to death on a TTC streetcar in 2013, has been granted full parole.

Former constable barred from having contact with Sammy Yatim's family

James Forcillo, a former Toronto police officer who was convicted of attempted murder in connection with the shooting death of Sammy Yatim aboard a TTC streetcar in 2013, has been granted full parole. (Marta Iwanek/The Canadian Press)

James Forcillo, the former Toronto police officer who shot teenager Sammy Yatim to death on a TTC streetcar in 2013, has been granted full parole.

Forcillo, now 37, was convicted of attempted murder in 2016, and began serving prison time in November 2017 after his appeal was rejected.

His sentence was supposed to last six years, five months and 29 days, according to the Parole Board of Canada document outlining his parole. Forcillo was previously granted day parole after 21 months in prison — a move that surprised and shocked Yatim's family. 

A judge handed Forcillo that sentence following an unusual verdict by a Toronto jury, which found Forcillo guilty of attempted murder, but not second-degree murder, despite the fact that Yatim died aboard the streetcar.

The jury believed Forcillo was justified in firing the first three shots at Yatim, who was brandishing a knife before Forcillo opened fire, but not a second round of shots.

Nearly the entire incident was captured on camera and sparked a serious debate in the city about police use of force.

The parole board said there's a "low risk" Forcillo will commit another crime. 

"It is the Board's opinion that you will not present an undue risk to society if released and that your release will contribute to the protection of society by facilitating your reintegration into society as a law-abiding citizen," the document said.

It also said Forcillo has enrolled in a full-time college program and intends to study to be an electrician. 

Sammy Yatim was a 'much-loved son, brother and member of the community,' the Parole Board of Canada notes. (Submitted by the Yatim family)

The former constable has, however, been barred from ever having any contact with Yatim's family and he is prohibited from ever owning a firearm.

In the document, the board notes the "devastating" impact Yatim's death has had on his family, "the effects of which will likely be felt for years to come.

"He was a loving son, a protective older brother, and a much-loved member of his community," it reads.

The board said that Forcillo has "acknowledged the trauma he caused" and, with the help of counselling, taken responsibility for the "fatal consequences" of his actions. 

Looking for more on the Yatim case and police use of force? Check out the the CBC documentary Hold Your Fire.

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