TTC investigating after Union Station brawl video surfaces
Fight broke out following Toronto Maple Leafs game in January
Toronto's public transit authority has launched an investigation after an ugly incident where two TTC special constables were filmed fighting with two men at Union Station.
The six-minute long video, which was posted on both YouTube earlier in March and started spreading quickly online Tuesday night, purportedly shows an incident from the evening Jan. 29, 2015, as the downtown subway station fills up with fans leaving a Toronto Maple Leafs game.
It's obviously very disturbing and so I'm really shocked.- Coun. Josh Colle, TTC Chair
Two men, who were later arrested by police, struggle with a pair of TTC special constables and a fare collector as crowds look on.
Everyone involved appears to struggle or throw a punch at some point, but at one moment where the situation appears to be calming down one of the special constable punches one of the men hard in the face twice.
Later, the same officer throws a flurry of punches at the man as he's held against a wall.
"It's obviously very disturbing and so I'm really shocked. The first time I watched the video was just moments ago but I don't know the full story," said TTC chair Coun. Josh Colle.
Colle said he's put in a request to learn more about what happened and said the role of TTC special constables — who have the power to arrest only on the transit agency's property — is to stop violence from happening.
"We're supposed to de-escalate and in certain situations then you call in Toronto police," he said.
TTC spokesman Brad Ross said both of the men who were fighting with the special constables were arrested. At the end of the video, three police officers arrive and quickly put one of the men in cuffs.
"That's all I can say until I have more tomorrow," Ross said.
Fight caught on camera
The video begins with one special constable already grappling with a middle-aged man as a fare collector and several others look on.
"Turn around, you're under arrest," the constable says. "What don't you understand?"
The two men continue to struggle, while several onlookers try to intervene. But, after the camera briefly moves away from the grappling men, punches start flying, with a younger man — later said by one onlooker to be the older man's son — clearly hitting the special constable multiple times.
A second special constable arrives and joins the fracas.
As blows fly, the fare collector just tries to hold one of the men by the wall.
At one point, one of the men can be heard saying, "I didn't do anything." His mouth appeared bloodied.
"I paid my fare … what the f--k is going on here?" he says.
Moments after the last barrage of punches are thrown, Toronto police officers arrive and cuff the younger man. As the officers lift him to his feet, one officer asks if he's OK and the man appears to calm down immediately before the video ends.
The entire incident happens underneath multiple TTC security cameras.
TTC riders shocked by video
CBC News showed the video to several TTC users on Tuesday night to get their reactions.
Brandon Mark said it was "pretty shocking stuff."
"I don't know if the TTC guy was provoked or not but things escalated pretty quick," he said.
"He didn't have to punch him. That's too far," said Giovanni Jervis of the special constable's actions.
Others, however, weren't so sure about what they'd seen.
"I don't really know what's going on between the two individuals. I think I need more information to make a good judgement on what actually happened," said Pablo Seto.
"Regardless of what the people are doing. I really hope that there would be a way that they could resolve that more peacefully than having to punch someone," said Anjuli Szawiola.