The Current

Sammy Yatim family lawyer on his fight for police accountability

Lawyer Julian Falconer has been working for years to try to change the way police handle people in crisis. Last week marked a milestone in that campaign. He represented the mother and sister of Sammy Yatim and joins us to talk about the watershed conviction.
A jury found Toronto police officer James Forcillo guilty of attempted murder in the case of Sammy Yatim. (Marta Iwanek/Canadian Press)

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Sammy Yatim was shot dead by a Toronto police officer on a summer evening in 2013.  And when video of the shooting went up on Youtube, it changed everything.  There were public protests and inquiries into police behaviour.

On Jan. 25, 2016, a jury found Toronto police officer James Forcillo guilty of attempted murder in the Sammy Yatim case.

Time after time, what I see are needless deaths for people who are mentally ill, for people who are emotional disturbed. And we are told the same thing every time, I have to use my gun to end the threat.- Lawyer Julian Falconer on the day the Sammy Yatim verdict came down

Julian Falconer is the lawyer who represented Sammy Yatim's mother and sister during the trial.  For Falconer, the jury's guilty of attempted murder verdict vindicated his long campaign to change police behaviour in how they deal with people in crisis.

Julian Falconer joined The Current's host Anna Maria to talk about how the verdict in the Sammy Yatim case is a watershed moment and hopes it will make it harder for police officers to claim impunity in cases where people in crisis are harmed.

This segment was produced by The Current's Sujata Berry.

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