Today brought an end to a three year legal battle in Toronto (mostly.) Const. James Forcillo was sentenced to six years in prison for the shooting of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim in a Toronto streetcar in 2013. Forcillo and his lawyers have launched an appeal, saying his trial was unduly influenced by the Youtube video of him and other officers shooting Yatim that went viral.
This comes the day after our neighbours to the south “dropped all remaining charges…against three city police officers awaiting trial in the death of Freddie Gray.”
Sammy Yatim was 18. He’d consumed ecstasy, gotten on a streetcar with a small knife and exposed himself to passengers. The passengers and driver evacuated the bus before police arrived.
He was shot nine times and tasered. Shot by two different officers and tased by a third. Only one police officer, Forcillo, has been found guilty of attempted murder. And that in itself is a questionable outcome, but the face that any of them are facing consequences I view as a victory.
Freddie Gray, for whose death no one is being held accountable, died inside a police police vehicle of a spinal chord injury after what was deemed an illegal arrest. But yeah, no charges stuck to anybody. I don’t know what else to say.
The legal system, while not broken is certainly bent. I hope to live to see the day when somebody, or more likely, lots of somebodies take up the sledge hammers and get down to straightening out.
Anyone interested in starting the forge should go back and listen to this awesome, powerful, heart-rending song from Janelle Monae and Wondaland to get their fires burning. You can’t listen to this list of names that has only grown longer since the song was released and not be affected. Not feel the need for change. For revolution.