The mother of Sammy Yatim has released a statement following the James Forcillo trial thanking all those who were involved. Sahar Bahadi issued it early Monday afternoon.
The 32-year-old was cleared of second-degree murder in the death of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim on a TTC streetcar in July 2013.
Forcillo had pleaded not guilty to both charges in the shooting that was captured by people who took cellphone videos, which would go on to become viral online, sparking public outrage across Toronto.
The teens father, Bill Yatim, also released a statement late Monday afternoon:
The events of the evening of July 26, 2013 changed our lives forever. There are no words to describe the pain I have endured as a father, losing my only son at the hands of a police officer.
Sammy was a quiet and shy teenager. He came from Syria for a better life in Canada. He was troubled the night he was killed and his actions were out of character. He knew he needed help and wanted to call me. He tried to borrow a cell phone to call me. I often wonder what would have happened if he had been able to reach me and if the police response had been different.
The murder trial of Constable Forcillo has been a taxing and emotional journey for me with many days where the evidence being presented was just unbearable. I am relieved that Constable Forcillo has finally been found guilty.
I thank Crown prosecutors Milan Rupic and Ian Bulmer as well as Ed Upenieks and the legal team at Lawrence, Lawrence, Stevenson LLP for all of their dedication and hard work over the past two years. I thank Tracy Clark and Dahlia Nicholson of the Victim/Witness Services Program for their immense emotional support throughout the trial. I appreciate the hard work of the SIU throughout, especially Steven Adam and Brian Voegtle. I thank the Honourable Mr. Justice Then for presiding over this case and his hard work in making the difficult decisions he has had to make throughout the trial. I would like to thank members of the jury for giving their undivided attention, commitment and diligence in the proceedings and in their deliberations and I appreciate the difficulties they probably would have had in this case being parents themselves. I am also thankful for the support of members of the public and I thank the public and the press for respecting my privacy.
The criminal proceedings are not the end. I am hopeful that all of the recommendations of the Honourable Mr. Justice Iacobucci in his Independent Review of the Lethal Use of Force by the Toronto Police Service will be fully implemented. We are awaiting a report from the Ontario Ombudsman and a report from the Office of the Independent Police Review Director Investigations.
The Yatim family will continue its efforts to ensure that no other family has to endure the suffering that the Yatim family has had to go through. This simply cannot happen again.