James Forcillo May Be In Luck, Our Justice System Doesn’t Convict Cops.

Posted: August 20, 2013 in RECENT EVENTS
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jason Head_Shot 2[1]

By Jason Sutcliffe

Officer James Forcillo will face the charge of 2nd degree murder in the shooting death of Sammy Yatim. The highly controversial shooting was caught on camera and caused an immediate uproar from citizens across the city and country.

The SIU following their investigation recommended Forcillo face the charge of 2nd degree murder. We should be ecstatic as citizens that Forcillo will be placed on trial and justice will be served, or will it?

I for one am not going to hold my breath. Since 1990, seven on duty police officers have been charged with manslaughter or murder, and none of them were convicted.

In fact, it is necessary to point out that the SIU, which is portrayed as a “Citizen watchdog” over the police department, is far from it. It is a department of ex-police over looking the police. 47 of the 54 SIU investigators are former police officers. This is like the wolf, supervising the wolf that looks over the sheep. It just does not work.

As of 2010 the SIU had investigated over 3400 cases. Out of those, charges were laid 95 times, with only 16 convictions and a mere 3 resulting in jail time. If I were to give you those stats in the form of a percentage it would be almost non-existent.

If you look at some of the cases that have been dismissed it just leaves you shaking your head. In 2009, an OPP officer shot a mentally challenged Douglas Minty while standing in front of his mother’s house. After taking a step toward the officer with a pocketknife, the officer who had on a bullet proof vest, was armed with a taser and pepper spray, found it necessary to shoot Minty 5 times—the charges were dropped, and he walked free

Mei Han Lee, a 67-year-old grandmother, was on her way home when a police cruiser struck her. She was tossed 30 meters; her brain stem was severed, and she was killed instantly. Officer Quijada-Mancia, the driver of the patrol car was not on his way to an emergency call, never had his sirens on, and had slammed the gas crossing over 3 lanes before striking Mei Han Lee—He was cleared by the SIU, their reasoning; he had only been driving 24 km/h at the time of impact.

Those are just two of the cases where officers of the law have avoided all accountability for their actions.

The point? It is great that James Forcillo has been arrested and charged, but it is only great if the system is willing to hand out justice. If it is willing to stand-up and hold people accountable regardless of their profession, or social standing. Rather based on the evidence and their actions. This is a significant opportunity for the judicial system to show the citizens of the city, province and country that the justice system does work. That nobody is exempt from justice.

Only time will tell, but I hope for the Yatim family, and all the citizens of the city, that the justice system finally says enough is enough. Police will no longer be able to hide behind a badge, and are accountable for their crimes like everyone else.

  1. Pierce says:

    Do you not believe that judgement is being made prior to a full understanding of the facts? I am not preaching innocence or guilt but rather patience.

    My frustration is with the singularity of the opinions being voiced. Judgement is being passed on end result with no regard for the circumstances that led to the outcome.

    This officer was on duty reacting to a volatile situation. A situation where an armed suspect was not complying with police orders and threatening public safety.

    Again, I am not suggesting that the actions taken were the best options available but that is a far cry from suggesting that the officer is a murderer in the legal definition.

    I, like most other who comment, was not there. I do however imagine how i would have felt if i was on that bus and a man had exposed himself and then threatened to stab me with a 3″ knife. How would i have felt if i was there with my wife and kids. Certain accounts say that he lunged at a passenger who shielded himself with a bike so as to not get stabbed. If that person would have been armed and then shot the person, would it have been wrong? Would it have been more wrong if he shot him 9 times?

    I may be one of the few who doesn’t feel sorry for the deceased as I sincerely believe he died by his own actions. I don’t believe he deserved to die but the sad outcome remains a result of his criminal behavior and not the other way around. I do however feel extremely sad for the family of the deceased as i’m sure they did all they could to help him. I also feel sorry for the officer and his family as he probably questions his own actions and re-lives those moments every night wondering why he elected to shoot.

    I’m sure this post will get criticized but i am hopeful that it can provide a different perspective on a tragic situation.

    • First an foremost I thank you for reading the post and taking the time to respond.

      I can appreciate that there is a demographic of people who believe that everyone should wait until all the evidence comes out in court. I ask you Pierce did Sammy Yatim not deserve the same treatment. Yatim’s crimes were clear and there is no real defence for what he did, but the same goes for Forcillo. There is a protocol for these situations and police officers are trained to follow it. Tell me when exactly were the couple dozen officers who were all armed with pepper spray, tasers and guns lives ever in danger? Sammy Yatim was alone on a streetcar with a pocketknife. He was not running of the streetcar at the officers swinging it like a mad man. For he was believe that I would never have written this article.

      How the people felt on the bus, is irrelevant in regards to how the police handle the situation. That is not saying that I do not feel for everyone who was on the streetcar that day and were placed in danger by Yatim’s disgusting, reprehensible action, because I feel for them very much. Also, Regardless of how volatile this particular situation was the police are trained to deal with volatile situations and to follow a protocol. Forcillo took it upon himself to hand out justice, and it was not his place to do that.

      I am disgusted at the way in which are judicial system handles officers of the law when they are placed before it. They have been given a free pass to do as they please. Forcillo is a police officer he is not a judge, juror and is certainly not an executioner. At some point the justice system has to put their foot down. A case like this, that was caught on camera should be that case. I would not be so quick to judge him I had not watched him commit murder on camera. I am supremely confident that what I watched was murder.

      Sammy Yatim was not innocent by any means, but I will say this, two crimes were committed on that day and Yatim has already been tried and convicted of his. It is now Forcillo’s turn.

  2. Pierce says:

    You raise very convincing arguments and I certainly agree that Yatim was executed without the benefit of a trial. It is not easy to describe my true sentiment here as I am torn. I do believe it was an unnecessary act by the cop and nothing can justify the result. I agree, two crimes were committed. I just don’t believe that the cop is a murderer in how we define it. Same as I don’t consider people engaged in war as murderers. I don’t have an answer and am thankful that i’m not the one that makes the ultimate decision. Do you believe that life in prison is the proper punishment for someone who’s intent was to protect and serve? Of course, i’m saying this under the assumption that the cop has no history of violence (which i don’t know). I do however thank you for your well though out post. We are both fortunate to be able to engage this way. Something Yatim has been robbed of.

  3. Amen! We certainly are fortunate to be in a situation where we can discuss this openly and freely on a forum such as this one.

    I am not going to go as far as to say that he deserves life in prison. I do believe that given the circumstances it should be manslaughter, and I think that ultimately the charge will be lowered to exactly that.

    My major concern here is the amount of force. Had he shot Yatim once I may feel a lot better about saying maybe he panicked, and given the circumstances maybe he is not deserving of jail time. However, he shot the young man 9 times, and then they tased him. That level of overkill is appalling to me anyway.

    Also, a big part of this for me is the pause between the first three shots and the last six. He was down, at the very least seriously injured and was no longer a threat to anyone (I believe at the time he was shot he was a threat to anyone’s life), They could have arrested him there was no reason after a 20 second or so pause to let off another 6 shots. Yatim was hit with 8 in total. For me, Forcillo fumbled this whole situation in the worst possible way and killed this young man without justification.

  4. Pierce says:

    Couldn’t agree more. The pauses between shots is what causes my hesitation. I’m also at a loss as to why no other cop even attempted to halt it after the initial 3. I remember situations in my youth where a friend would get in an altercation and we, (his buddies) would always step in when it was enough. The video is, without a doubt, the most puzzling thing i’ve ever seen. Regardless of outcome, I sincerely hope that this event is what changes things for good. We need better control over how we manage people suffering with mental disorders. We need to equip cops with the proper tools to help them succeed. Another post i read mentioned rubber bullets and how they would have been ideal in this situation. They are incredibly debilitating, knock you right on your rear and bruise the hell out of whoever they hit. In my opinion, they also release an officer from carrying the burden of making a bad decision and the results that follow.

    Again, thanks for the insight.

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