Police seek to identify youth who urinates on homeless man in video
Published Wednesday, August 8, 2012 11:10AM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, August 8, 2012 4:45PM EDT
Toronto police asked the public for help to identify both a suspect and a victim after a video showing a young man peeing on what appears to be a sleeping homeless man surfaced on the web.
The 27-second video, which appeared on a hip-hop culture website Tuesday, shows a young male walking up to a man sleeping outside the Eaton Centre and urinating on his face.
The sleeping man does not react as a group of people in the video cheer off camera.
At a press conference Wednesday, Toronto police Det. Kirby Reddin called the incident “shocking” and said that there is public rage in the community about the video, which he hopes will prompt anyone with information to step forward.
“I think this is one of the worst acts of degradation that I have seen in my career. I think it’s, frankly, disgusting,” Reddin said.
Police will need the help of the public and need to identify both the victim and the suspect, he said.
“I think an arrest is very possible in this case,” Reddin said. “But it won’t happen without the assistance of the public.”
The video titled “Real or Fake? Cold-Hearted Thug Urinates On Sleeping Homeless Man in Downtown Toronto” has already been viewed more than 175,000 times on the website World Star Hip Hop.
Toronto police said they have launched an investigation into the incident. Const. Wendy Drummond said Wednesday that the public has already reached out to police with information about the video.
The suspect pictured in the video could be charged with assault if he is located.
By looking at the display pictured in the store window and working with retailers at the Eaton Centre, police have been able to determine that the incident took place between Nov. 17, 2011 and Dec. 1, 2011.
Police hope that the suspect’s clothing, including distinctive back pockets on his jeans, will help lead to his identification.
Besides witnesses, police are also asking for people who are in contact with the homeless community to come forward to help identify the victim in the video.
Anne-Marie Batten, a nurse who works with Toronto’s downtown homeless population, said the man in the video looks familiar.
“I can say that I did see the video last night,” she said. “I cannot name the victim, but he is a familiar face to us.”
While this video is shocking, homeless people are often the victims of robbery or assault, she said, noting that this video is particularly bad.
“To me, that’s the most appalling thing I have heard in my career,” she said.
Shoppers approached at the Eaton Centre on Tuesday reacted with shock and disgust, questioning what the video said about the city to have such an incident occurs at a downtown landmark.
“That is very sad. Individuals shouldn’t be doing that… to a young man. He is still human. I can’t believe humans can do that to other humans,” one woman told CTV Toronto.
“It looks bad on Toronto. It looks really bad, what they are doing. Toronto is a very nice city, and they shouldn’t be doing that.”
Added another woman, “People are sick. People think things are funny that aren’t.”
The reaction on Twitter was just as negative, with users panning the actions depicted in the video as despicable and disturbing.
“Everyday I lose a little faith in humanity,” one user tweeted.
“This makes me so extremely sick,” wrote another.
Last year, a video of women attacking another woman outside the Eaton Centre was posted on the same website. In that case, two teenage girls are facing charges.
With files from CTV Toronto’s Scott Lightfoot