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Sept. 25, 2017
For Immediate Release

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Brantford – On July 27, 2013, Sammy Yatim was shot and killed by Toronto Police Services’ Constable James Forcillo after Forcillo and other officers responded to a call that Yatim had brandished a switchblade knife on a streetcar and threatened passengers. In January 2016, Forcillo was found not guilty of second-degree murder, but was found guilty of attempted murder. On Oct. 2, Forcillo will appear before the courts again, this time to appeal his attempted murder conviction.

The following Laurier experts are available to comment on various dimensions of this case, including use of video evidence, the nexus between mental illness and community safety, and police training.

Patrick Watson, a professor in Laurier’s Criminology Department studies the handling of evidence – particularly video evidence – in official circumstances such as courts of law and military proceedings. He has specifically researched the use of video evidence in police-involved shootings, including the Yatim case. Contact:

Jennifer Lavoie, associate professor in the Department of Criminology, specializes in criminological issues that involve people living with mental illness. Her program of research focuses on police responses to people in mental health crisis. She is lead investigator on an initiative that examines police service and mobile crisis team encounters with people living with mental illness and their family members. Contact:

Scott Blandford, assistant professor and program coordinator for Laurier’s Bachelor of Arts in Policing program and graduate coordinator for the Master of Public Safety program, is a retired police officer with 30 years of service including tactical experience. He is an expert in police training and organizational development issues. Contact:

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Media Contacts:

Beth Gurney, Associate Director

Communications and Public Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University

T: 519.756.8228 x5753


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