A massive blaze at an automotive recycling facility in northeast Calgary is under investigation by the Calgary Police Service Arson Unit.
Crews were called to the 2700 block of 5 Avenue N.E. just after 1 a.m. on Tuesday.
The first arriving fire crew discovered two separate buildings on fire, as well as numerous cars.
Calgary Fire Department Battalion Chief Alan Ball said additional help was requested due to the size of the blaze.
“Our first on-scene officer encountered two separate buildings just about fully involved, then requested additional apparatus.”
Responding crews also had to deal with numerous small explosions from the gas tanks in vehicles on the property.
The Calgary Fire Department responds to a building fire in the 2700 block of 5 Avenue N.E. at around 1 a.m. on Thursday, July 28, 2016. Global News
The Calgary Fire Department responds to a building fire in the 2700 block of 5 Avenue N.E. at around 1 a.m. on Thursday, July 28, 2016.
“[Firefighters] made a decision early to divide their resources and attack both buildings from a defensive position simultaneously,” Ball said.
Crews used an elevated platform and large volumes of water to contain the blaze to the business where it originated.
As of 9 a.m., firefighters hadn’t yet been able to carry out a search of the interiors or either building.
“Searches of the buildings will be done when it is deemed safe to do so,” the Calgary Fire Department said in a news release.
The fire department said the fire is considered suspicious, and an investigation is underway to determine how it started.
“We’ve actually asked the Calgary Police Service arson investigation team to come in and assist us with this,” Ball said.
The lease holder is cooperating with the investigation.
According to Ball, one firefighter had to be transported to hospital after sustaining a cut on his hand.
GALLERY: Damaged caused by a fire in the 2700 block of 5 Avenue N.E.
BERLIN – Bavarian officials on Thursday pledged to hire hundreds of extra police officers and urged tougher background checks on asylum-seekers as they presented an anti-terror plan following four deadly attacks in the country in a week.
Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said his state – where three of the four attacks took place – would hire some 2,000 additional police officers by 2020, improve police officers’ equipment and create new offices to fight Muslim extremism and cybercrime.
He also called for tougher background checks on asylum-seekers and new strategies to deport criminal asylum-seekers more easily. Three of the four attacks were committed by asylum-seekers.
READ MORE: Authorities raid mosque in northern Germany
“The threat of Salafist terrorism has arrived in Europe, in Germany, but also in Bavaria,” Bavarian Justice Minister Winfried Bausback said at a news conference with Herrmann.
Two of the attacks – an axe attack near Wuerzburg that wounded five and a suicide bombing that injured 15 outside a bar in Ansbach – were the first in Germany to be claimed by the Islamic State group. Both of the attackers were killed.
In two other attacks – a mass shooting in Munich that claimed 10 lives, including the attacker’s, and the stabbing of a woman at a restaurant in Reutlingen – the motive is still unclear but Islamic extremism is not suspected.
READ MORE: Munich shooter, Ali Sonboly, had been planning attack for a year
Investigators say the 18-year-old German-Iranian responsible for the Munich rampage left a several-pages-long document about his psychiatric illnesses, his school situation and his neighbourhood. However, Munich prosecutors and the Bavarian state criminal police office said in a joint statement Thursday they were still evaluating which parts of the document were fiction and which were based on reality.
The attacks have brought Chancellor Angela Merkel’s policy of welcoming refugees under renewed criticism. More than 1 million came to Germany last year, though the influx has since slowed dramatically.
Also Thursday, Germany’s commissioner for immigration, refugees and integration called on mosques across the country to be more pro-active when it comes to preventing extremism among Muslim youths.
READ MORE: Islamic State magazine claims Ansbach attacker fought for group before coming to Germany
“We need to hold mosques more responsible when it comes to prevention among teenagers,” Aydan Ozoguz told the daily Heilbronner Stimme.
On Wednesday night, police raided a mosque believed to be a “hot spot” for Islamic extremists in the northern German city of Hildesheim. The raid didn’t appear to be connected to the recent attacks.
Germany has been on the edge since the recent string of attacks and since recent deadly attacks in neighbouring France.
MOSCOW – Russia and the Syrian government will open humanitarian corridors in Syria’s embattled city of Aleppo and offer a way out for opposition fighters wanting to lay down their arms, Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu announced on Thursday.
The announcement came as Syria’s President Bashar Assad offered a general amnesty for rebels who give up their weapons and surrender to authorities over the next three months.
Syrian government forces and allied troops have encircled the main rebel enclave in the city of Aleppo, urging fighters there to surrender. Humanitarian groups have warned of a major catastrophe if the siege on the rebel-held parts of Aleppo continues. Some 300,000 residents are trapped in the eastern part of the city that is controlled by rebels, according to the United Nations.
READ MORE: Beheading of Syrian boy ‘appalling’, State Dept. ‘seeking more information’
Shoigu said in televised comments that President Vladimir Putin has ordered a “large-scale humanitarian operation” that will be launched outside Aleppo to help civilians as well as allow fighters who wanted to lay down the arms to surrender.
“Together with the Syrian government we will open three humanitarian corridors in order to help civilians who were kept hostage by the terrorists as well as the fighters who want to lay down their arms,” he told a meeting in Moscow.
Moscow welcomes international aid organizations which operate in Syria to join the Russia-lead humanitarian operation, he added. The fighters who want to surrender will be able leave the city via a corridor to the north, Shoigu also said.
READ MORE: Syria’s cease-fire strengthening al-Qaida branch
Assad, meanwhile, issued a decree offering an amnesty to armed opposition fighters who surrender within three months and urging all detainees to be freed. The decree, which was published by the state-run news agency SANA, said that those who might set free their captives will be exempted from punishment if they turn themselves in within a month.
Assad has issued amnesty offers several times in the past in the course of Syria’s civil war, now in its sixth year. The offer is largely seen by opposition fighters as a publicity stunt and psychological warfare against the rebels.
More than a quarter of a million people have died and millions have been displaced since March 2011, when Syria’s conflict erupted.
Issa reported from Beirut.
TORONTO – Canada’s largest grocery chain says it’s trying to verify the accuracy of the coin-counting kiosks in its stores after TD Bank got rid of similar machines from its branches over allegations that they’ve been nickel-and-diming customers.
“We are aware of the concerns recently raised about coin-counting machines,” Kevin Groh, the vice-president of corporate affairs and communication for Loblaw, said in an email.
“We have been working with Coinstar to confirm the accuracy of the coin-counting machines located in our stores and have no current plans to remove the machines. Should customers have a concern with any of the coin-counting machines in one of our stores, please contact our customer service team to let us know.”
The coin-counting machines located in Loblaw stores are owned and operated by U.S.-based Coinstar, the same company that owned and operated the machines that TD Bank pulled from its Canadian branches in May.
READ MORE: TD Bank to retire coin-counting machines amid error reports in the U.S.
Last month, a class-action lawsuit was filed against TD on behalf of everyone who used the coin-counting machines at the bank’s branches between Jan. 1, 2013, and May 25, 2016.
Grocery store chain Metro also has Coinstar machines in its stores. A spokeswoman said the company has not received any complaints about the machines and therefore has no plans to remove them.
But Metro will continue to monitor the machines to “ensure our customers’ satisfaction,” Genevieve Gregoire said in an email.
The lead plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit is Lisa Ram, a woman from Kitchener, Ont., who says she counted her coins before depositing them in a machine at a TD Bank in the city.
Ram says she had a total of $854.25, but was shortchanged by $159.50. She alleges that she complained to the bank but they failed to do anything.
READ MORE: Man cashes in over $5K in pennies after collecting them for 45 years
A statement of claim filed by Toronto-based law firm Sotos LLP alleges that the bank knew about accuracy issues with its machines south of the border, but still proceeded with a national rollout across Canada in January 2013.
The allegations have not been proven in court.
In order to proceed as a class-action, the suit requires certification from the Ontario Superior Court.
TD Bank declined a request for comment, saying it could not comment on the pending litigation.
Coinstar said in an email that it aims to provide customers with “convenient, reliable and accurate” service and that its machines have processed more than one billion transactions over the last 25 years.
Any customer who has questions or concerns should contact customer service staff, the company added.
CILACAP, Indonesia – Indonesia rebuffed appeals from distraught relatives, rights advocates and foreign governments to abandon plans to execute 14 people for drug crimes as preparations intensified at the prison island holding death row inmates.
A convoy of ambulances, most of them carrying coffins, arrived Thursday morning at the port town nearest to the Nusa Kambangan prison island, where the mostly foreign drug convicts will be executed by firing squads. Officials began tightening security at the prison several days ago, with more than 1,000 police sent to Cilacap, the port town, and the island.
The European Union and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights called on Indonesia to impose an immediate moratorium on executions and the Indian and Pakistani governments said they were making urgent efforts to save two nationals among the condemned.
READ MORE: UN human rights office calls Indonesia executions ‘incomprehensible’
Indonesia has not released an official list of those to be executed but the country’s attorney-general said 14 people would be put to death. Community Legal Aid Institute, which is involved in some of the death row cases, has given names for four Indonesians, six Nigerians, two Zimbabweans, one Indian and one Pakistani.
Lawyers and rights groups have raised serious doubts about the legitimacy of the convictions in several drug cases, including that of Pakistani Zulfikar Ali, Indonesian Merri Utami and Nigerian Humphrey Jefferson.
But Muhammad Rum, a spokesman for Indonesia’s attorney-general, said the executions are the “implementation of our positive laws” and will not be delayed or stopped. All the cases have gone through a long legal process including appeals, he said. “They all have been given chances at all stages.” The foreign ministry also defended the use of capital punishment and the legal process.
In Cilacap, the sister-in-law of Michael Titus, a Nigerian sentenced to death, said his Indonesian wife was returning to Indonesia from West Africa in the hope she would be able to see him a final time. “We will keep fighting to seek justice for our family,” said the relative, Nila, who used one name. “Michael is not alone. He has a wife, kids.”
READ MORE: Indonesia executes 8 for drug offences, leading to international outrage
From Pakistan, a sister of Ali made an emotional appeal to the Indonesian authorities to review his case. Family members said the Indonesian government had arranged a final meeting between Ali and his wife and mother, who travelled to Indonesia.
“My brother is not a drug smuggler. I swear he is innocent,” said Sajida Bibi. “I want to see my brother alive,” she sobbed. “Don’t send his body to us.”
Justice Project Pakistan, a group that provides free legal representation, said Ali’s confession following his arrest in November 2004 was obtained by police torture. It said his case has not been properly reviewed by Indonesian authorities despite an internal government investigation casting doubt on the conviction for drug trafficking.
The Indonesian government says the death penalty is necessary for drug crimes because the country is facing a drug epidemic, particularly affecting young people. But critics argue capital punishment is not an effective deterrent and some have also questioned the accuracy of the government’s drug abuse statistics.
It would be the third set of executions under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who campaigned on promises to improve human rights. His 2-year-old administration will have executed more people than were executed in the previous decade. Fourteen were put to death last year.
READ MORE: Indonesia ignores protests, approves executions of 9 foreigners
Cap. Bintoro Wasono, a Cilacap police spokesman, said two burial sites, one for Muslims and the other for Christians, have been prepared for inmates whose bodies would not be taken by their families.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a statement he’s “deeply concerned” by death penalty cases in Indonesia that lack transparency and compliance with the right to a fair trial, including the right to an appeal.
The EU called on Indonesia to “consider joining the wide community of over 140 states that have abolished the death penalty entirely or have adopted a moratorium.”
The government of Jokowi’s predecessor did not carry out executions between 2009 and 2012, but resumed them in 2013.
Worldwide, China is believed to the country with the highest number of executions but it does not release figures. Amnesty International estimates several thousand people are executed in China each year. Of the more than 1,600 publicly announced executions last year, Amnesty says nearly 90 per cent of them were in three countries: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran.
Wright reported from Jakarta. Associated Press writers Munir Ahmed in Islamabad, Pakistan, and Ali Kotarumalos and Niniek Karmini in Jakarta contributed to this report.
ANKARA, Turkey – Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Thursday chaired a top-level military meeting that is likely to lead to a major shake-up within the country’s armed forces following a failed coup by renegade military officers.
The Supreme Military Council, gathering top commanders of NATO’s second-largest army, met a day after Turkey discharged close to 1,700 officers – including 149 generals and admirals – suspected of involvement in the failed July 15 coup attempt. The council, which decides on promotions and retirements, was expected to announce more dismissals on Thursday. A senior Turkish official described the purges as “dishonourable discharge.”
Turkey declared a state of emergency following the violent coup attempt that led to 290 deaths, and embarked on a large-scale clampdown on people suspected of ties to U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the government accuses of masterminding the coup. Nearly 16,000 people were detained over suspected links to the failed uprising, and about half of them were formally arrested to face trial.
READ MORE: Turkey detains 47 more journalists, executives after failed coup
Tens of thousands of state employees have also been dismissed for alleged ties to Gulen, while schools, dormitories and hospitals associated with his movement have been closed down.
Authorities issued warrants for the detention of 89 journalists as the clampdown extended to the media. Dozens of media organizations – most of them also linked to Gulen – were ordered shuttered late Wednesday.
The media organizations include 16 television stations, 23 radio stations, 15 magazines, 29 publishing houses and 45 newspapers – including a Gulen-linked children’s television station and opposition daily Taraf.
Gulen, who lives in the United States and runs a global network of schools and foundations, has repeatedly denied any knowledge of the coup attempt. Turkey wants the cleric extradited but the U.S. has told Turkey to present evidence against Gulen and let the U.S. extradition process take its course.
READ MORE: Turkish crackdown continues after 2 generals, former Istanbul governor detained
The military Council meeting was originally scheduled for the first week of August but was brought forward following the coup attempt. Its location was moved from the military headquarters to the prime minister’s office in a sign that the government aims to place the military under stronger civilian control.
Late Wednesday, the government issued a decree that removed the paramilitary police force and the coast guard from military command and placed them under the control of the Interior Ministry.
Turkish officials have said they believe the coup plot was put into force in haste before the Council in August, when many officers suspected of links to Gulen would have been discharged.
Elena Becatoros contributed from Istanbul.
BATON ROUGE, La. – Vice-President Joe Biden and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch are scheduled to speak Thursday at a Baton Rouge vigil honouring the three law enforcement officers who were killed by a lone gunman during a shootout outside a convenience store.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and relatives of the slain officers also are expected to speak during the ceremony at Healing Place Church, where a funeral was held last Friday for 41-year-old Baton Rouge police officer Matthew Gerald.
Gerald, 45-year-old sheriff’s deputy Brad Garafola and 32-year-old police officer Montrell Jackson were shot and killed July 17 by 29-year-old Gavin Long, an Army veteran from Kansas City, Missouri. Long also wounded three other officers before a SWAT officer gunned him down.
READ MORE: Shooting deaths of police officers in U.S. spike in 2016: report
Sheriff’s Deputy Nicholas Tullier was critically wounded and has remained in a hospital since the shooting.
Authorities said Long was targeting police when he ambushed the officers in Baton Rouge, where racial tensions had been mounting amid protests over a deadly police shooting. Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, was shot and killed during a struggle with two white police officers July 5.
Jackson, a corporal, was a 10-year veteran of the Baton Rouge Police Department. He was married and had a 4-month-old son. Days before he was shot to death, Jackson posted a message on Facebook about the difficulties of being both a black man and a police officer in the tumultuous aftermath of Sterling’s shooting.
READ MORE: Baton Rouge shooting: Mother of gunman believes son suffered from PTSD
“Please don’t let hate infect your heart. This city MUST and WILL get better,” wrote Jackson, whose funeral was Monday.
Garafola, whose funeral was Saturday, is survived by a wife and four children: sons ages 21 and 12, and daughters ages 15 and 7.
Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said Garafola “went down fighting,” with surveillance video showing him firing at the gunman as bullets hit the concrete around him.
Gerald was a former Marine and Army veteran who served three tours in Iraq before joining the police force nine months ago. His wife, Dechia Gerald – now a widow with two young daughters – called him “my blue-eyed rock” in a written tribute. She expressed hope that his legacy will “bridge the gap and foster peace in the country he lived, loved and died for.”
PARIS – The second man who attacked a Normandy church during a morning Mass this week, slitting the throat of the elderly priest, is a 19-year-old Frenchman from eastern France, the prosecutor’s office said Thursday.
An official in the prosecutor’s office said it was “very probable” that the man, identified as Abdel-Malik Nabil Petit Jean, was the same man pictured in a photo distributed to police services four days before the attack and obtained by The Associated Press. The information accompanying the photo of an unidentified man said the person pictured “could be ready to participate in an attack on national territory.”
UCLAT, an agency that co-ordinates the anti-terrorist fight, said it obtained the photo from a trusted source.
READ MORE: Here’s what we know about Normandy church attackers
Petit Jean and another 19-year-old, Adel Kermiche, were killed by police as they left the church Tuesday in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray. An elderly man among the five people in the congregation was seriously wounded by knife slashes. One of three nuns present escaped and alerted police.
Petit Jean was born in eastern France, in Saint Die des Vosges, in eastern France, the prosecutor’s office said. He was identified via his DNA. Kermiche was from Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray.
A man detained after the attack was still being held for questioning, the prosecutor’s office said.
The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group, which released a video Wednesday allegedly showing Kermiche and his accomplice clasping hands and pledging allegiance to the group.
READ MORE: ISIS claims responsibility for Normandy church siege that left priest dead
In it, Kermiche identifies himself by the nom de guerre Abu Jaleel al-Hanafi, and says Petit Jean is called Ibn Omar.
The UCLAT flyer to law enforcement said the person in the photo “could already be present in France and act alone or with other individuals. The date, the target and the modus operandi of these actions are for the moment unknown.”
The church attack came less than two weeks after an attack by a man barrelling his truck down a pedestrian zone in Nice, on the Riviera, that killed 84 people celebrating France’s national day.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for that attack, too, as well as two attacks that followed in Germany.
Elaine Ganley contributed to this report.
OTTAWA – Canada sits on an enviable top-10 perch when it comes to quality of life around the world, but a new analysis points to significant disparity among its provinces and territories.
Albertans, for example, enjoyed a quality of life in 2014 comparable to that found in countries like Switzerland or Denmark, says a new report that seeks to replicate the United Nations human development index for Canadian regions.
At the other end of the spectrum, says the report released today, Nunavut would have had a quality of life similar to that of Latvia or Croatia.
Overall, Canada holds down the ninth spot on the 2015 UN index of 188 countries, which was based on 2014 data. It tied with New Zealand one slot below the United States.
READ MORE: Canadians’ quality of life ranks 2nd globally, according to 2016 Social Progress Index
By comparison, if Alberta had been stacked up against countries on the list, it would have landed in fourth place – the highest among Canada’s provinces and territories.
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Nunavut would have ended up 46th, the report says.
“Although most Canadian provinces and territories achieve impressive ranks in the international context, evidently Canada’s overall (human development index) masks substantial variation among the different regions,” said the paper by The Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
“Our report highlights the diverse human development experiences of Canadians.”
READ MORE: ‘We don’t deal well with not knowing’: How to cope with economic uncertainty
The UN human development index is a frequently used tool that measures one country’s standing with another. It combines data on life expectancy, education and gross national income to produce a ranking of the UN’s member countries.
To replicate the index for provinces and territories, report author and economist James Uguccioni wrote that he used Statistics Canada data to ensure it was as consistent as possible.
The study also ranked B.C. as the top-ranked Canadian region for life expectancy, while Nunavut was last. Compared to UN countries, Nunavut was No. 103 for life expectancy.
READ MORE: Are you satisfied with your work schedule? Most Canadians aren’t
It also said Nunavut ranked last when it came to average educational attainment, while Yukon had the highest level.
Nunavut trailed in the category of expected years of schooling, in which Quebec was No. 1. Internationally, Nunavut was 107th.
For gross national income per capita, Northwest Territories was first and Prince Edward Island was last.
Here’s a rundown of where the provinces and territories would rank internationally:
– Alberta: 4
– Ontario: 8
– British Columbia: 11
– Saskatchewan: 12
– Quebec: 12
– Northwest Territories: 15
– Newfoundland and Labrador: 16
– Nova Scotia: 22
– Yukon: 22
– Prince Edward Island: 23
– Manitoba: 23
– New Brunswick: 25
– Nunavut: 46
TORONTO – A Toronto police officer who gunned down a troubled teen on an empty streetcar three years ago abused his authority in a way that undermines public trust in law enforcement and the justice system, a judge said Thursday in sentencing him to six years in prison.
In letting loose a second volley of shots on 18-year-old Sammy Yatim, Const. James Forcillo committed an “egregious breach of trust” and his sentence must serve as notice to other police officers that they should open fire “only as a last resort,” Justice Edward Then told a Toronto court.
The sentence “should not be taken to reflect adversely on the well-deserved reputation of the Toronto Police Service nor diminish in any way the respect and support individual police officers deserve for the dangerous and important work they do,” he said.
“However, when a police officer has committed a serious crime of violence by breaking the law which the officer is sworn to uphold, it is the duty of the court to firmly denounce that conduct in an effort to repair and affirm the trust that must exist between the community and the police to whom we entrust the use of lethal weapons within the limits prescribed by law.”
James Forcillo gets 6-year prison sentence for shooting Sammy Yatim
James Forcillo gets 6-year prison sentence for shooting Sammy Yatim
A timeline of the James Forcillo trial
Sammy Yatim’s mother reads statement following Forcillo sentencing
Yatim family says there is no sentence long enough to ease loss
Yatim family ‘hurt’ by Forcillo’s lack of remorse
‘Unreasonable, unecessary, excessive’: Judge’s description of Forcillo shooting of Sammy Yatim
‘The video doesn’t lie’: Lawyers for Yatim family hail benefits of shooting video
Yatim lawyers reject ‘trial by YouTube’ tag, calls for good cops to speak out
Murmurs rippled through the packed courtroom as Then delivered the sentence. The disgraced police officer, wearing a dark suit, stood straight and stone-faced as he was handcuffed.
Yatim’s parents looked at Forcillo, then turned to one another in silence. But outside the courtroom, Sahar Bahadi, Yatim’s mother, said she remained outraged.
“He destroyed our family, he will destroy our lives,” she said.
“But he didn’t show any kind of remorse.”
“I am always angry. Since I lost my son, I am always angry. I have screams inside me and I have to control myself.”
Sammy Yatim. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Facebook
THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Facebook
His father, Nabil Yatim, said he hopes the ruling will bring about change so that no other family has to suffer as theirs has.
Yatim’s death on July 27, 2013, sparked public outrage in the city after a cellphone video of the shooting went viral.
Then cited that cellphone video as “powerful evidence” that what Forcillo said occurred on the streetcar that night did not actually happen.
The judge spent almost 90 minutes dissecting the evidence that came to light during the trial, delivering a series of stinging rebukes to Forcillo’s conduct, saying his actions constituted “a fundamental failure to understand his duty to preserve all life, not just his own.”
READ MORE: Ontario ombudsman urges changes in de-escalation techniques after Sammy Yatim shooting
Forcillo did not mistakenly believe that Yatim was getting up after being struck with a first volley of bullets, as the officer testified in court, Then found. Instead, he based his decision to fire again entirely on the fact that Yatim had managed to recover his knife, he said.
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Judge’s decision reflects Forcillo’s action, not policing: lawyer
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Under police training, that alone would not justify shooting a suspect, the judge said. The second volley of shots was “not only contrary to (Forcillo’s) training, but unreasonable, unnecessary and excessive.”
What’s more, “at no time prior to the second volley did Officer Forcillo attempt to communicate with Mr. Yatim, notwithstanding that he had obviously been injured by the first volley,” he said.
“There was ample opportunity for Officer Forcillo to communicate with Mr. Yatim by engaging in verbal de-escalation or to issue commands in accordance with his training in order to allow Mr. Yatim to relinquish his knife.”
Forcillo’s lawyer, Peter Brauti, said an appeal has already been filed on the conviction and sentencing.
“It wasn’t how we saw the nature of the offence,” Brauti said.
Both sides were in appeal court later Thursday as the defence applied for bail pending appeal.
The defence argued that Forcillo should be granted bail because he wouldn’t be likely to reoffend, given that the conditions under which he shot Yatim would not be repeated. The appeal judge, Justice Eileen Gillese, said she would make her decision about bail by Friday morning.
Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto police union, called the entire case a tragedy.
“We go out there and do our professional job each and every day, and this decision is under appeal,” he said. “This is a tragic day for the Forcillo family, the Yatim family – there will never be any good outcome from this, it’s tragic all around.”
After the sentencing, Toronto police suspended Forcillo without pay, according to spokesman Mark Pugash.
Police Chief Mark Saunders said in a statement that Forcillo still faces a disciplinary matter in the Toronto Police Service Tribunal, but declined to comment on the criminal case.
“The last three years have been difficult for everyone involved, including the families of Sammy Yatim and James Forcillo. The Toronto Police Service will continue to protect and support the public, and each other, and I am certain members will continue to do their jobs professionally and with respect,” he said.
READ MORE: ‘I will never forgive,’ Sammy Yatim’s mother tells Toronto cop’s sentencing
The outrage over Yatim’s death prompted Saunders’ predecessor to launch a review of officers’ use of force and their response to emotionally disturbed people.
Then rejected the defence’s assertion that Forcillo should not be subjected to the mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison for the attempted murder conviction. But he also said the Crown’s request that the officer spend between eight to 10 years behind bars was “unreasonable.”
The judge said he took into account Forcillo’s overall “positive” character and lack of criminal record, and noted it was the only time the officer has fired his gun in his 3.5 years with the force.
That Forcillo will likely lose his job and will spend his time in prison in protective custody are also considered mitigating factors, Then said.
READ MORE: Forcillo case reveals shifting attitude toward police dealing with those in crisis
But he also found the aggravating factors – including that Forcillo failed to follow his training or use de-escalation techniques – “substantially outweigh” the mitigating factors.
Forcillo’s lawyers, who had argued for house arrest instead of a prison sentence, filed a constitutional appeal, arguing the mandatory minimum was never intended to apply to peace officers who legitimately carry a gun at the behest of the state in order to protect society.
Prosecutors argued the mandatory minimum is meant to apply to everyone and that police officers shouldn’t get special treatment.
They also argued that Forcillo’s case appears to be “among the most egregious examples of unjustified violence by a police officer in Canada.”
Forcillo had been out on bail since being charged, but was taken to a holding cell in the courthouse immediately after sentencing.