'MAJOR FAILURE': Yatim family upset as ex-cop Forcillo gets full parole

James Forcillo leaves the courthouse at 361 University Ave. in Toronto May 16, 2016. Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun

A former Toronto Police officer who fatally shot troubled teen Sammy Yatim has been granted full parole after serving less than one-third of his 6 1/2-year prison sentence.

A Parole Board panel determined James Forcillo, 37, will receieve full parole, noting the former constable expressed remorse and contrition for Yatim’s death, which occurred in 2013 after the officer fired his weapon at the 18-year-old on an empty streetcar.

Forcillo had already been granted day parole five months ago.

He was acquitted of second-degree murder but convicted of attempted murder. Friday’s parole board decision — which became public Tuesday — came 21 months into his prison sentence for the attempted murder and perjury.

Sammy Yatim

He was one of the first two officers to respond to a call of a man exposing himself and brandishing a small knife, frightening passengers on a streetcar.

Forcillo fired two volleys — the first three shots left Yatim dying, paralyzed and laying on the streetcar floor. His second volley of six shots resulted in his conviction for attempted murder.

The Yatim family’s lawyer said his clients are displeased by the decision and their inability to give victim impact statements at the parole hearing.

“Yatim family members are extremely upset that they received no notification of the parole hearing and discovered their son’s killer was released via the media,” said lawyer Ed Upenieks, who represents Sammy’s father, Bill, and sister Sara.

“What the Yatim family has endured and is enduring, no other family should endure. This parole decision doesn’t name Sammy or his family,” said Upenieks.

“They are simply referred to as the ‘victim and his family.’ He shouldn’t be forgotten like this.”

“There is a major failure to not notify the family of this hearing and give them the opportunity to express the profound impact this crime has had on them, just as other victims have done at other parole hearings.”

In granting full parole, the board noted that Forcillo’s actions took the life of “a much-loved son, brother, and member of the community.”

“His loss continues to devastate the family. You acknowledge the trauma that you have caused the victim’s family and that you continue to reflect upon the harm that your actions caused,” the decision added. “With the benefit of counselling, you now understand that your own fear, impulsivity, and stress contributed to your poor decision-making, poor problem solving, and resulted in fatal consequences.”

Forcillo is enrolled in a full-time college program to become an electrician, the decision noted.

“Your success and high marks demonstrate your motivation and commitment to your chosen field. You advised your parole supervisor that you intend to apply for an apprenticeship program through the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.”

Forcillo was on bail pending appeal, but his bail was revoked after an SIU investigator found him living at his fiance’s apartment, instead of at his former in-laws’ home as required by his bail conditions.

He was rated as a low risk to re-offend and his “motivation level, accountability and reintegration potential are assessed as high,” the parole decision stated.

spazzano@postmedia.com

James Forcillo parole decision by CynthiaMcLeodSun on Scribd

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