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The use of force against citizens in distress on public roads is at the center of the coroner's investigation in Toronto.

The officer who targeted Sammy Yatim with his Taser defends himself

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Sammy Yatim came to Canada from Syria with his family, three years before his death, because his parents wanted him to have a better education.

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Voice synthesis, based on artificial intelligence, makes it possible to generate spoken text from written text.

Frustrating moment at the coroner's inquest into the death of Sammy Yatim in Toronto: the police officer who used his taser electric shock on the 18-year-old student denies having acted badly when he discharged it on the victim who was lying on the ground. Sammy Yatim was killed by police while flashing his penis and brandishing a knife on a city tram in 2013.

Sergeant Dusan Pravica tells the coroner's jury that he was the only one authorized to use a taser in 2013 in the group of police officers who responded to an emergency call.

Sgt Pravica explains that these weapons were reserved for supervisors and never for front line officers.

J&#x27 ;heard the dispatcher in my patrol car say that someone armed with a knife was on the streetcar on Dundas Street West, he remembers.

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He adds that the city center was crowded that evening because of several concerts in the metropolis and a baseball game at the Sky Dome.

I arrived at the scene after several detours, he continues, his gaze shifting [he never looked at the camera during the virtual hearing, Editor's note].

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Sammy Yatim was killed on the night of July 26 to 27, 2013 in this Toronto streetcar, which had previously been evacuated by the driver.

Sgt Pravica explains that 4 or 5 agents were already grouped in a semi-circle at the foot of the train in front of the front door and Sammy Yatim was already on the ground.

He was lying in at the top of the stairs, a penknife in his hand, but my colleagues were still holding him outside, he said.

However, he no longer remembers whether agent James Forcillo told him that Sammy Yatim had been shot or whether he himself had opened fire on the young man with his gun.

He claims that he didn't hear any gunshots when& ;#x27;he got out of his vehicle to run to the tram stopped on the rails.

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Sammy Yatim , a knife in his hand, a few minutes before his death.

The video of the events shows that Sammy Yatim was already on the floor of the train and that he had been shot by Agent Forcillo.

The presiding coroner, Dr. David Cameron, refused to re-present her to the jury at the request from the lawyer of the victim's father, Nabil Yatim.

Sgt Pravica explains that he had to neutralize the young man even though he had already been shot, because he was still holding his penknife in his hand when he was shot. boarded.

I only saw one bullet coming halfway out of his body, but no trace of blood, he emphasizes, specifying that the knife was still pointed in his direction.

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Image from a surveillance video of the tram in which Sammy Yatim was before being shot by the police

He emphasizes that he then ordered Sammy Yatim twice to drop his weapon , but that the young man did not answer him.

He declares that he then unloaded his pulse pistol towards the student before kicking, 5 seconds later, the student's hand to knock his knife away.

He was still conscious and I just followed the directive, which justified the use of an electric gun in this kind of situation to ward off any threat, he said, adding that two police officers then boarded to examine the victim before giving him first aid.

The cross-examination of the sergeant was interrupted early on, when Mr. Yatim's lawyer, Ed Upenieks, reminded him that he had failed in his duty to assess the situation by entering the train as required by protocol.

Prosecution lawyer Peter Napier formally objected to such a question because it fell outside the scope of the investigation, which had been limited at the time. ;#x27;last year.

Dr. Cameron asked the witness and the 5 jurors to come out, to discuss the tendentious assertion of Me Upenieks with the lawyers of the other parties in this investigation [as in criminal trials, the press is not authorized to report what was said during these discussions, Editor's note] .

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Former police officer James Forcillo, who was fired from his police department, was sentenced to six years in prison in 2016 for attempted murder.

Upon returning to the virtual courtroom, Sgt Pravica said he quickly assessed the situation before firing his taser.

Visibly upset, Mr. Upenieks nevertheless reminded him that he had said during the criminal trial of Agent Forcillo that he had not done it because' we had to act quickly and eliminate any threat.

I knew he had been shot, but I didn't know how many times, he defends himself, specifying that he was shocked to learn of the behavior of Agent Forcillo while talking with colleagues at the police station.

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A friend of Sammy Yatim holds his photograph outside the courthouse during the trial of James Forcillo.

Anna Wilson, the lawyer for the group Empowerment Council, which advocates for people with mental health problems, explains to him that Sammy Yatim did not refuse to obey [you] because he was dying.

I didn't know he was dying, ma'am, he replied.

The criminal trial of James Forcillo revealed that he had opened the fired 9 times at the student.

He had been acquitted of one charge charge of unpremeditated murder for the first three shots, but convicted of attempted murder for the last six shots against the victim who was lying on the ground.

In 2019, almost six years after the tragedy, the charge of professional misconduct that the Toronto police had filed against Sgt Pravica was dropped at the continuation of negotiations behind closed doors.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116