Toronto's transit authority says it will investigate an incident that was partially caught on video.
Footage posted to Facebook on Sunday shows a man being held down by five officers. Bethany McBride, who uploaded the videos, said the man wasn't resisting the two transit inspectors who initially detained him when three police officers also piled on top of him.
McBride told HuffPost Canada that she was riding a streetcar from St. Clair West Station around 5 p.m. on Sunday when two Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) fare inspectors got on. They did not ask her for proof of payment, she said, but when a young black man tried to exit the vehicle at Bathurst Station, they grabbed him.
"From what I saw there was no interaction to even see if he had paid his fare or not. But they grabbed him by his jacket when he was halfway off the streetcar to pull him back in. He reacted defensively. He shoved the TTC worker. And they proceeded to restrain him," she said.
I didn't do anything though. You're hurting me, you're hurting me.
The man was "not resisting" the fare inspectors when three police officers arrived and climbed on top of him, she said. He was held on the ground for about 20 minutes.
In McBride's video, the man can be heard saying, "I didn't do anything though. You're hurting me, you're hurting me."
Told to stop filming
Two additional Toronto police officers arrived and picked the man up and took him to a squad car, McBride said.
"At that point an officer told me that I had to stop filming and kind of implied to everyone that if we didn't vacate the area, we'd all be in trouble too," she said.
McBride said the person who was detained looked about 15 or 16 years old, but a Toronto police spokeswoman said he was over 18.
It's not a police matter.Const. Jennifer Sidhu
Const. Jennifer Sidhu told HuffPost Canada that the man was resisting when officers arrived to assist the TTC special constables.
"It's not a police matter and no charges were laid by Toronto police," she said. "When police did arrive on scene, they did pull him aside, listen to him, hear what he had to say, so he was then handed back to the special constable."
TTC will investigate
The TTC is investigating, a spokesman said.
"We are currently conducting an internal investigation, including reviewing video to determine exactly what happened and why, and we will take appropriate action where necessary," Stuart Green said in an email to HuffPost Canada.
McBride, who is white, said she felt compelled to post the video as soon as she got home Sunday.
"I decided to post the video because I do believe strongly that it's related to a racial discrimination issue ... I feel like I've witnessed a lot of occurrences on the TTC and most often, the person being hassled has a darker colour of skin," she said.
"I feel like this would never happen to me. Even if I did evade my fare and had gotten caught, I don't think that the same reaction would've been had."
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