Lawyer blasts delays in case of officer accused of excessive force for Tasering Sammy Yatim

The lawyer representing Sammy Yatim’s father in a Toronto police disciplinary hearing is raising concerns about delays in the case of the officer who Tasered the young man as he lay dying.

Sgt. Dusan Pravica is facing one count of misconduct under Ontario’s Police Services Act in connection to the July 2013 incident that left Yatim, 18, dead and Pravica’s colleague, Const. James Forcillo, convicted of attempted murder.

Pravica, who has been with the police service for 22 years, was charged following an investigation by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), after a complaint was filed by Yatim’s father, Nabil Yatim.

The watchdog’s probe found that Pravica — who climbed aboard the streetcar where Yatim was fatally shot and Tasered him as he lay on the ground — used “unnecessary force,” “failed to assess the totality of the circumstances” and “acted in haste.” Accordingly, Toronto police charged Pravica with misconduct.

More than five years after Yatim’s death, Pravica’s case has still not been heard.

Pravica, who arrived on the scene seconds after the Yatim was shot, was called as a witness during Forcillo’s trial. He said Yatim was still clutching a knife as he approached and he felt the young man posed a threat.

“He could potentially be getting ready to slash my throat or come across the abdomen. I’m pointing the Taser at him and he’s not going to drop the knife for me,” Pravica testified.