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Toronto police face second lawsuit in shooting death of Sammy Yatim

Sammy Yatim is shown in a photo from the Facebook page


Toronto police are facing a second lawsuit in the death of Sammy Yatim, this one from his father, who alleges officers acted with "malice and recklessness" in the fatal shooting of the 18-year-old on a streetcar two years ago.

Nabil Yatim is seeking $7-million in damages in a lawsuit that names as defendants the Toronto Police Services Board, former chief Bill Blair, Constable James Forcillo and Sergeant Dusan Dan Pravica.

Mr. Yatim's mother, Sahar Bahadi, initiated a lawsuit in the fall of 2013, seeking $8-million in damages.

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Mr. Yatim's parents are divorced, and the father's lawsuit, which was filed in Ontario Superior Court in July, also for the first time names the officer who is alleged to have fired a Taser at Mr. Yatim after the shooting.

Constable Forcillo has been charged with second-degree murder after discharging his firearm nine times during a confrontation on a TTC streetcar on Dundas Street West at Bellwoods Avenue.

Jury selection for his trial is expected to start at the end of this month.

None of the allegations in the criminal or civil proceedings have been proven in court.

Shortly before midnight on July 26, 2013, police received a call that a man on a TTC streetcar had attacked a woman with a knife. The streetcar was stopped, passengers had fled, and ultimately several shots were fired.

In a video taken by onlookers and later posted to YouTube, the sound of a Taser being discharged can be heard about 35 seconds after the shots stopped.

The lawsuit filed by Nabil Yatim alleges that Sgt. Pravica used the Taser.

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"While lying defenceless and motionless on the floor of the streetcar, Officer Dusan Dan Pravica administered his Taser on Sammy, twice," the statement of claim says. "Following the shooting, Officer Pravica, who was the supervising officer, yelled for the motionless and lifeless Sammy to drop the knife as he administered his Taser weapon upon Sammy's wounded and motionless and lifeless body," the documents allege.

The second-degree murder charge against Constable Forcillo was laid by the Special Investigations Unit, which probes incidents between police and civilians involving serious injury or death. No charges were laid against the officer who discharged the Taser. No reasons were given and the officer was not identified.

The lawsuit filed by Mr. Yatim's mother also alleges wrongdoing by the officer who fired the Taser, but in that statement of claim, he is identified only as John Doe.

In response to a request for comment, a spokeswoman for the Toronto police said the force has not yet been made aware of the father's lawsuit.

No statement of defence has been filed by police or lawyers representing the officers in the father's lawsuit. In the action initiated by Mr. Yatim's mother though, police say in a statement of defence that Mr. Yatim posed a risk to the public and the response was appropriate.

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