Disturbing video shows fare inspectors pepper spraying a passenger on the TTC
Just one day after news that the TTC is planning to take steps to further crack down on fare evasion and employ tactics that will include plainclothes inspectors, a video showing TTC officials' shocking use of force on a passenger is making its rounds on social media.
The video, posted to Twitter by a bystander around 8 this morning with the caption "#ttc mornings," shows two enforcement officers engaged in a dramatic tussle with a passenger sitting in a window seat of a streetcar.
One officer then pepper sprays the passenger in the face (hitting his partner in the back in the process) while repeating "Get down!" The heated struggle consequently appears to calm down a bit before a third fare inspector covers and moves the filmer's cell phone away from the incident.
All commuters then disembark as someone in the background of the footage yells "Exit the streetcar!"
Honestly this thing is going to keep on happening as we get more fare inspectors interacting with people who are, for whatever reason, confrontational with officers. I don't think it's going to have much of an effect on stopping fare evasion, just more violence. /end— -J- (@CascadingDesign) February 7, 2020
The video was taken while the vehicle was stopped on the Queen Street Viaduct bridge over the Don Valley Parkway near River Street, traveling on the 501 Queen route.
The poster later clarified the story in a thread, saying that the officers approached the commuter and asked for proof of payment. After he "blew them off," the inspectors "crowded in," and the situation quickly escalated into "mutual shoving and then punches."
Everything escalated in less than a second. Some sort of pepper spray foam was used, the man was subdued and then handcuffed. Nobody else was injured or involved as far as I can tell. /3— -J- (@CascadingDesign) February 7, 2020
"The man getting hit by the fare inspectors was the type of guy everyone has seen on the TTC before - maybe intoxicated on *something*, possibly just belligerent or not in a great state of mind," the poster added, saying that if ignored, the individual "wouldn't have been a danger to anybody."
The incident comes at a time when many transit users across the world are protesting to demand free transit, arguing it is a necessity, not a luxury.
They are pepper spraying people over $3.25 now. In enclosed spaces. The fare inspection system is broken. @JohnTory, how is this OK? How do you want more of this on our transit system? How long before someone gets permanently injured by these guys? https://t.co/Hvr3I8AIVS— Horse Professor (@ChrisDartCOTF) February 7, 2020
Canadian commuters in particular have been expressing their dissatisfaction with the way various cities tackle fare evasion, as many municipalities from coast to coast have implemented fare inspectors and otherwise ramped up transit enforcement in recent years.
Many are also concerned with the absurd methods of said inspectors — such as the use of force, humiliation, and ganging-up tactics on citizens over a fare of a few dollars — as well as the costs the cities incurs for such enforcement, between officers' salaries and the legal proceedings for evaders.
The TTC did not respond to request for comment by the time of publication.
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