(Toronto, ON) February 22, 2018 — Members of Jane Finch Action Against Poverty condemn the violence at the hands of TTC fare inspectors and police officers this week.
“We condemn this egregious violence and anti-Black racism by TTC fare inspectors and the assistance given by the Toronto Police officers,” said Butterfly Gopaul of Jane-Finch Action Against Poverty (JFAAP). “The TTC and Toronto Police must stop targeting and violating the rights of young people of colour.”
On Sunday, February 18, TTC fare inspectors assaulted a Black teenager. According to witness Bethany McBride, the incident began when the teen, who was exiting a streetcar on St. Clair Ave West and Bathurst Street, was grabbed by the back of his coat by a fare inspector. The teen, who she estimated was around 15, reacted by shoving the inspector who grabbed him, McBride said. At that point, 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. In 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.” He didn’t seem to be fighting back or trying to escape and there was blood and dirt on his face. After the brutal assault and the traumatization of the teenage boy, the Police found that he had not committed any criminal offense and eventually released him.
“This is absolutely outrageous! We all know well that this is not an isolated incident but a chronic systemic oppression and racism in this City”! added Butterfly Gopaul.
Racism is deeply entrenched in all aspects of our public systems partially within the law enforcement and TTC. There is little to no accountability when it comes to the violent behaviours of TTC officers. For instance, a report in April 2017 by the City Ombudsman found violent incidents by fare enforcement officers were not being tracked by the TTC and that de-escalation is not part of their use of force training.
- An immediate suspension of all fare inspectors and police officers that violated the fundamental human rights of the young black boy who was a victim of their racist and cruel act.
- A public apology by the TTC, Police Services and Mayor of Toronto.
- An end to racial profiling and targeting of racialized and poor communities by police and TTC enforcement officers.