Thursday, January 21, 2016

Cops Toe Thin Blue Line in the James Forcillo Trial

As the jury began deliberations Wednesday, the disturbing whiff of a cover-up hangs over the case of the Toronto cop charged in the 2013 killing of Sammy Yatim. After three months of often conflicting police testimony, here's a look at the more troubling revelations.

It was always going to be a risky proposition putting Forcillo in the witness box to testify on his own behalf. The last thing any defence lawyer wants to do is open up his client to cross-examination. It's usually a last resort.

But given the overwhelming video evidence against Forcillo - nine shots fired point-blank at the knife-brandishing Sammy Yatim - the defence had little choice.

Forcillo proved a tough nut to crack, putting whatever mind games he learned getting that psychology degree from York University to good use under pointed questioning from Crown prosecutor Milan Rupic. But in the end, his cocksure manner left an uneasy sense that his entire testimony was cooked.

Forcillo never apologized for shooting Yatim, and his defensiveness revealed a simmering anger when he wasn't arguing semantics.

Cocking his chin skyward like a boxer, he seemed to be daring Rupic to take his best shot. It wasn't hard to see how Forcillo might have lost his cool that night, as the Crown suggested, and let his jail-guard mentality (he used to work in court services) override his police training and kill Yatim for calling him a "pussy."  (more...)

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