Videos showing Toronto police and transit fare inspectors pinning down a black teenager have prompted an internal investigation, according to the Toronto Transit Commission.
On Sunday, Bethany McBride, a Toronto-based chef, posted two videos of the incident to Facebook with the caption, “On my streetcar a black teenaged boy shoved a fare collector who put his hands on him .... and this happens. They held him down screaming for twenty mins.”
McBride told CityNews the teen was getting off the streetcar near St. Clair West and Bathurst street when fare inspectors dragged him back by his jacket.
The teen, who she estimated was around 15, reacted by shoving the inspector who grabbed him, McBride said. At that point, she said two TTC inspectors pinned the teenager onto the ground outside of streetcar; three cops later joined in, handcuffed the teen and held him down for 20 minutes, according to McBride.
In McBride’s videos, the teen can be heard crying “I didn’t do anything, though. Please, you’re hurting me, you’re hurting me, you’re hurting me.”
TTC spokesman Stuart Green told VICE the altercation is being investigated.
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," he said.
He told CityNews simply not paying a fare would not be grounds for a fare inspector to use force.
“What we’ve seen in the video is, of course, of great concern to us.”
The incident has prompted backlash online, with many criticizing the harsh response.
“As long as this is permitted to happen, what this says loud and clear is that black lives and dignity—even our children!—are not worth a damn. Or at the very most, not worth more than $2.05,” tweeted Jared Walker, communications director for Jagmeet Singh’s NDP leadership campaign.
The cops told CityNews that they handcuffed the teen after he refused to put his hands behind his back. No charges were laid against him.
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