Toronto Transit Commission video footage that captured a teen being fatally shot

Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight with the cops.


Toronto Transit Commission video footage that captured a teen being fatally shot on a streetcar by a police officer was shown for the first time ever in Superior Court in Toronto on Wednesday.

Four cameras on a Dundas West streetcar captured the incident that took place just after midnight on July 26, 2013. Const. James Forcillo, 32, is facing charges of second-degree murder and attempted murder in the death of Sammy Yatim, 18, who was shot eight times on the streetcar.  

On the second day of the high-profile trial, the jury watched a video that showed what transpired after the streetcar driver exits the vehicle. About 50 seconds pass from when police first arrive and when Yatim is shot.

The video shows Yatim falling after the first three shots, his body twitching. Forcillo shoots the teen several more times.

Another officer moves to the steps of the streetcar and Tasers Yatim before other officers rush onto the transit vehicle.

Jurors also saw Yatim swinging a knife at a woman as riders rush to the front of the streetcar. Flashing lights are seen outside and Yatim is seen holding his hands up while holding a knife and shaking his head as Forcillo, with his gun drawn, speaks with him.

An investigator with Ontario’s police watchdog told the court that he collected a switchblade, a police handgun and a Taser from the scene where the teen was killed.

Prosecutors have said they plan to prove that Forcillo’s actions were neither necessary nor reasonable. Forcillo’s lawyer has said he will argue the officer’s actions were justified and carried out in self-defence.

Steven Adam, an investigator with the province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), was the first witness called Wednesday. The SIU probes all incidents in which someone is hurt or killed during an interaction with police.

Adam described how he arrived at the scene on Dundas Street West at Grace Street, where the streetcar had come to a stop after a disturbance on board that preceded the shooting.

SIU investigator describes shooting scene

Adam testified he had no concerns with the preservation of the scene. He told the court he collected Forcillo’s Glock handgun and a police Taser, also known as a stun gun, from the area.

Adam also testified that he collected a black switchblade with an 11.4-centimetre-long blade that the court has heard Yatim was holding when he was shot. The blade was found about three seats from the front of the streetcar, Adam told the court.

Crown attorney Milan Rupic told the jury that the video recordings, including footage from cameras aboard the streetcar, are synchronized and time-stamped. Other video evidence will come from security cameras at businesses near the scene and footage of the shooting captured on mobile phones from passersby.

According to the Crown, minutes before he was shot, Yatim had exposed himself to a group of passengers at the back of the streetcar and drawn the knife. That action caused passengers to flee the streetcar.

The jury has been told that an autopsy found Yatim had consumed the drug ecstasy the night he died.


3 thoughts on “Toronto Transit Commission video footage that captured a teen being fatally shot

  1. “Yatim had exposed himself to a group of passengers at the back of the streetcar and drawn the knife.”

    Was this guy wagging his weenie in people’s faces just before swinging a knife at them? He sounds like a genuine nut case to me, and I’m glad he’s dead, but it’s too bad he didn’t take out a cop before they got him.

  2. Honestly, it looks like keystone cops. They all seem genuinely scared even after they had shot him and he’s laying on the ground! Something seems off with police training. No attempt to talk to him as a human first to see if it was even possible to talk him down. What happened to “last resort”? Guns are up almost immediately. He’s got a small knife. Sad.

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