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Sammy Yatim’s Family Files Multimillion-Dollar Lawsuit

Suit alleges "excessive and unreasonable force” and "high-handed, shocking" conduct in last summer's shooting of an 18-year-old TTC passenger.

Sammy Yatim’s sister Sarah stands with protesters at Yonge-Dundas square, in July 2013.

When 18-year-old Sammy Yatim was shot and killed on July 27, 2013, police used “excessive and unreasonable force” and showed a “reckless disregard” for his life, says a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed by Yatim’s mother and sister in February of this year.

Sahar Bahadi, Yatim’s mother, and Sarah Yatim, his sister, have named Toronto Police chief Bill Blair, the Toronto Police Services Board, two unidentified police officers, and Constable James Forcillo in the suit, and they’re asking for more than $8 million dollars in damages. The claim alleges that the defendants’ conduct was “high-handed, shocking, [and] contemptuous,” and that Yatim’s relatives have been suffering both psychologically and physically.

Yatim was by himself on the Dundas streetcar when he exhibited signs of emotional distress, brandishing a small knife and allegedly exposing himself. Constable Forcillo shot Yatim eight times, and another officer then tasered him. Forcillo now faces a charge of second-degree murder, and will likely go to trial next year.

Blair and the TPSB, the suit asserts, should have been aware that these police officers were “incompetent” and “insufficiently trained.”

On July 24, retired Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci will release his independent review, which may involve recommendations about how the force’s policies and procedures should be changed in the wake of the fatal shooting.

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