The Yatim family issued their first formal statement since Sammy Yatim, 18, was gunned down on a TTC streetcar by a Toronto police officer early last Saturday.
Family friend Joseph Nazar read the statement outside the family home, thanking the public for their support. (Read full statement below.)
“We are heartbroken, confused and still in a state of shock,” the family said. “The outpouring of support that our family has received from Torontonians and the entire country has been tremendous….We are living a nightmare we can’t seem to wake up from.”
The family said it held no ill-will towards the police force and also thanked chief Bill Blair for reaching out to them and assuring a full investigation will take place.
“We trust in the Canadian justice system and we will seek justice for Sammy,” the family said.
“This is a tragedy for all involved.”
Mayor Rob Ford also addressed the deadly shooting for the first time from Scarborough Tuesday, saying it was too soon to draw any conclusions.
“I’m very sorry for what happened,” Ford said. “It’s unfortunate, it’s sad, and my heart goes out to the family, but none of us know the facts.”
Toronto police Const. James Forcillo has been identified as the officer being investigated in the fatal shooting, his lawyer, Peter Brauti, has confirmed to CityNews.
In the meantime, a second protest is in the works following Monday night’s vigil and march.
The event — dubbed Sammy’s Fight Back For Justice — will take place on the afternoon of Aug. 13 outside a Toronto Police Services Board meeting at police headquarters on College Street.
“Join us as we mourn the death of Sammy Yatim, Toronto’s latest victim of police brutality, and fight for justice for all victims of police violence and murder,” the organizers wrote on the event’s Facebook page.
“The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has shown a clear inability to police the police, leaving cops in Toronto with a sense that they can get away with murder, and leaving us with no hope for accountability from the authorities.”
Yatim died in hospital early Saturday after he was shot more than once during a standoff with police on a TTC streetcar on Dundas Street West, near Bathurst Street.
A bystander caught the shooting on video, sparking public outrage and anger towards police, who have suspended the officer involved in the shooting, with pay.
Hundreds, including Yatim’s family, gathered at Yonge-Dundas Square on Monday evening for a march to the spot where the shooting took place. They carried placards and chanted “shame!” and “murder!”
Chief Blair took the unusual step of making a public statement on Monday though the probe is now in the hands of the SIU.
“I recognize that there is a need for answers and that the public quite rightfully expects that this matter will be thoroughly investigated. I want to assure you that this will be done,” he said.
“The public also has a right to demand that the Toronto Police Service examine the conduct of its officers and to ensure that its training and procedures are both appropriate and followed. This will be done.”
Blair has promised a full investigation of the officers involved and a review of the force’s policies, procedures and training.
Friends told the Toronto Star that Yatim had left home last month after clashing with his father over the teen’s pot use and lack of a job.
He was apparently staying with a friend’s family and while some said he was trying to get his life on track and planned to take health care management at George Brown College in the fall, others claimed he had fallen in with a bad crowd and always carried a knife.
According to the Globe and Mail, a memorial for Yatim is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the Highland Funeral Home in Scarborough. A prayer service will happen there on Thursday morning. The funeral home has not confirmed the report and no details were available on its website.