Security guard suspended after video shows him throwing shoes at a homeless man
GardaWorld, which employs the guard, says it's investigating the Toronto street incident
A Toronto security guard has been suspended following the release of a video that appears to show him throwing a pair of shoes at a homeless person lingering on Yonge Street this week.
The quarrel between the pair began just after 8 a.m. Wednesday, during the morning rush to work.
The video shows the man and a security guard weaving through an onslaught of pedestrians.
Caught on video
The video that captures the next moments is shaky at first, but the guard is standing in front of a building at 60 Yonge St. He takes off his jacket, walks toward the other man, and then appears to throw something at him.
The argument continues until the guard picks up the homeless man's shoes and throws them at him.
One strikes the man in the ribs, the other in the back of his leg.
The person who recorded the video did not want to be identified. But the videographer wrote in an email to CBC News about seeing the security guard punch the homeless man before the filming began.
CBC News was not able to independently verify if the security guard punched the homeless man before filming began.
Security firm investigates
The security guard works for GardaWorld, which told CBC Toronto it is investigating the incident.
"GardaWorld was forwarded the video taken by the bystander. Upon receipt, it was immediately transferred to our corporate security team for investigation," the firm said in a written statement. "The employee in question has been suspended pending further investigation."
It's unclear whether the incident could result in criminal charges.
Const. Victor Kwong said that just by looking at the video, it's hard to tell whether the security guard breached any laws.
"What we have to do is keep in mind of what this didn't capture as well," Kwong said. "We have to step back and take a look at the whole picture and see why it is the situation got to where it is."
A spokesperson for the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty said regardless of what sparked the altercation, the security worker acted inappropriately.
"I'm sure that security guard has his own side, but I don't think that there's any good explanation for why someone could act that way," A.J. Withers said.
Homeless people are invisible to most people.- A.J. Withers, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
This happens far too often in Toronto, the poverty advocate said.
"Homeless people are dehumanized all the time and often victims of violence," Withers said. "I'm sure it's shocking to many people but, sadly, it's something that we hear about or see all the time."
The man in the video told CBC Toronto that he has been homeless for several years. Several people can be seen walking by him during the confrontation, but no one tried to stop it.
"It's heartbreaking that no one intervenes, but it's also not surprising," Withers said. "That's what you see on the street all the time, right? Homeless people are invisible to most people."