On the Jail Sentence of Toronto Police Constable James Forcillo

By Dr David Laing Dawson

As much as I know the shooting death of Sammy Yatim was entirely unnecessary, and as much as I know by simply looking at pictures of Constable James Forcillo that he is pugnacious by nature and that his fear/aggression response is close to the surface, easily triggered, I still have qualms about his conviction and sentence.

We put the gun in his hand. We assigned him to that job.

And in doing so we made one of two mistakes. Either he and his fellow officers were not sufficiently trained and prepared, or wrongly trained and prepared, or he is not a man we should have put in that position in the first place.

If 99 out of 100 officers could have resolved that event peacefully, without anyone getting hurt, then Constable Forcillo should have been reassigned years ago. To a desk job, community liaison work, anything not requiring a gun.

If only 40 out of 100 officers could have resolved that event peacefully, without anyone getting hurt, then their training and supervision is wrong. Tragically wrong.

I know it can be a combination of both. But those are the two tools we have: Screen and monitor our officers for signs that their primitive fear/aggression response is dangerously close to ignition, and train, train, train them to react differently in those situations.

See previous blogs on police training at https://dawsonross.wordpress.com/2016/04/04/on-improving-police-confrontations-with-the-mentally-ill/ and https://dawsonross.wordpress.com/2016/04/04/on-improving-police-confrontations-with-the-mentally-ill/.

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4 thoughts on “On the Jail Sentence of Toronto Police Constable James Forcillo

  1. I do totally agree with this statement: TRAIN- TRAIN- TRAIN and TRAIN AGAIN the police off jets before you trust them a gun!!! We, the common population need to trust them, not to fear them. Proper training and constant assessment will avoid this tragic (for both parties) outcomes!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just read on the Metropolitan Police ( London U.K.) website “.
    We also have specialist support including horses, dogs, and armed officers.” in that order !!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. They still do not, that is what I was trying to say..They may carry plastic shields in the trunk of their police cars….however I also read in the report that there is hardly any crime involving guns in the U.K.
        Gun control is crucial.

        Liked by 1 person

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