TORONTO — A Crown prosecutor is suggesting that a Toronto officer on trial for killing a teen on an empty streetcar was not interested in any kind of discussion with the youth on the night he confronted him.
Crown lawyer Milan Rupic says Const. James Forcillo didn't see his job as one that required him to speak with a "drug-addled teenager who is on a very bad trip."
Forcillo is being cross-examined at his own trial after pleading not guilty to second-degree murder and attempted murder in the death of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim.
The jury that will decide the case has heard that on a night in July 2013, Yatim had consumed the drug ecstasy before he boarded a streetcar where he pulled out a small knife.
"I fired the bullets at him because I thought he was a threat to my life."
Videos and audio played at the trial have shown that Forcillo arrives on the scene, yells repeatedly at Yatim to "drop the knife" and fires nine bullets at the 18-year-old after a 50-second confrontation.
Forcillo says he used proper techniques that police officers are taught when he dealt with Yatim.
Rupic, however, has been pressing Forcillo on his mindset when he shot Yatim.
"In your mind, officers are entitled to bark orders and make demands and expect people to follow, and you were amazed when someone didn't follow," the Crown lawyer said.
"Police officers are entitled to choose what they think will work best in a particular situation," Forcillo contended.
Rupic also said that Forcillo intended to kill Yatim when he fired nine times, leading to a tense exchange.
"Are you suggesting that firing nine bullets at somebody is not likely to kill him?" Rupic asked.
A screengrab of the Sammy Yatim shooting video.
"I fired the bullets at him because I thought he was a threat to my life," Forcillo said.
"I'm asking if you knew you were likely to kill Sammy Yatim," Rupic asked.
"I am not considering whether these bullets are going to kill him. I'm considering whether or not they're going to stop him."
On Thursday, Forcillo testified that he believed Yatim was ready to "fight till the end" when confronted by police and noted that the teen didn't comply with any orders to drop his knife.
Forcillo said he believed his concerns about an imminent attack from Yatim appeared founded when he saw the teen jerk his knife towards him.
The jury has heard that Forcillo issued a warning to Yatim not to take another step towards police and fired when the teen moved forward.
Crown prosecutors argue Forcillo's actions during the incident weren't necessary or reasonable. Forcillo's lawyer contends his client's actions were justified and carried out in self-defence.
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