TORONTO — The trial of a Toronto police officer charged in the shooting death of a teen on an empty streetcar is set to continue today with testimony from witnesses brought by the Crown.
Const. James Forcillo has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and attempted murder in the death of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim.
Jurors at the trial heard yesterday from the driver of the streetcar on which Yatim died in July 2013.
Chad Seymour said he had a calm conversation with Yatim after the teen pulled out a knife and sparked panic aboard the transit vehicle.
But Seymour also admitted he was frightened during what he agreed was a dangerous and unpredictable situation.
Under questioning from Forcillo's lawyer, Seymour admitted that he didn't tell Yatim he had a phone in his pocket when the teen said he wanted one to call his father.
The court heard that Seymour pretended to look for a phone to buy time before police arrived and remained on the streetcar talking to Yatim to contain the potential threat posed by the teen.
The trial has heard that Yatim sat down in the streetcar until the arrival of a police car prompted him to jump up and swear, causing Seymour to flee the vehicle.
The jury has seen videos and heard audio that show Forcillo arriving at the scene with another officer and yelling repeatedly at Yatim to "drop the knife."
After a 50-second confrontation in which Yatim refuses to obey police commands, Forcillo fires nine bullets, causing Yatim to fall to the floor of the streetcar.
Crown prosecutors have said they plan to prove that Forcillo's actions during the incident weren't necessary or reasonable. Forcillo's lawyer has said his client's actions were justified and carried out in self-defence.
The jury has also heard that Yatim consumed the drug ecstasy before he boarded the streetcar.
The Canadian Press