The Toronto police officer who shot Sammy Yatim in July 2013 on an empty streetcar has been granted full parole.
Const. James Forcillo was granted full parole on Jan. 17 and must have no contact — direct or indirect — with Yatim’s family.
In its decision, the parole board said Forcillo was referred by his parole supervisor for psychological counselling. The board said Forcillo was assessed and it was concluded he did not present any mental health concerns.
“Your (Case Management Team) CMT believe your full parole plan is realistic and achievable, and that your risk would be manageable on a more expanded form of release,” the decision read.
Yatim died in hospital on July 27, 2013 after he was shot by a Toronto police officer and then Tasered by another inside a TTC streetcar.
In August 2019, Forcillo was granted day parole, a decision that upset Yatim’s family at the time. He was granted day parole after serving 21 months of his six-year sentence.
The parole board wrote in its decision that “it carefully considered the victim impact statements presented at sentencing.”
“The victim’s death had a devastating impact on his family members; the effects of which will likely reverberate for years to come. He was a loving son, a protective older brother, and much loved member of his community,” the decision continued.
“It is clear that the family members of the victims continue to suffer emotionally as they deal with the loss of their child and the ongoing trauma.”
As for the granting of full parole, Yatim’s family told Global News they were not notified about the application for parole and the first they heard about it was Tuesday when they were contacted by their lawyers.
However, the family said they’re willing to push back against the decision.
“I’m going to try my best to get to the bottom of this, I’m personally not giving up yet,” said Sara Ann. “It’s a hard day.”
The board said since Forcillo was granted day parole that his behaviour “remains appropriate” and that he has been described as open and honest. The board said Forcillo is currently enrolled in a full-time college program and that he intends to be an electrician.
Officers responded to a call about a teen exposing himself on the streetcar while brandishing a small knife. By the time police arrived, Yatim was the only person left on the streetcar.
Const. James Forcillo, who was one of the first officers on scene, fired two separate volleys at Yatim as the 18-year-old was standing alone holding a small knife on the summer night, in an incident that ignited public outrage after a bystander’s video was made public.
In 2016, a jury acquitted Forcillo of second-degree murder but convicted the officer of attempted murder, and he was sentenced to six years in prison. The conviction related to the second volley of bullets Forcillo fired after Yatim was down and dying.
The board said Forcillo will live at an apartment approved by his parole superviser, with his fiancee.
—With files The Canadian Press