Video captures passengers defending man after racial slurs yelled on TTC streetcar
Courtney Greenberg, CTV Toronto
Published Tuesday, November 15, 2016 1:08PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 15, 2016 4:47PM EST
A video circulating on social media shows passengers defending a man after racial slurs and threats were yelled out during a confrontation on a TTC streetcar Monday night.
Bystander Valeska Griffiths posted the footage -- reportedly taken on a west-end St. Clair streetcar -- on Twitter just after 11:30 p.m. In the post, the user asked if anyone could identify a white man wearing a hard-hat who was accusing a brown man of punching him in the face and breaking his bag.
The incident began around 6:15 p.m., before the video starts, when a woman asked the man wearing the hard-hat to turn down music he was listening to on his headphones, Griffiths told CP24.
The man ignored the request, Griffiths said, so a man standing next to the woman spoke up. The man in the hard hat shouted “racist things” at the man who spoke up, she said.
The video continues to show the man in the hard hat screaming things like, "Go back to your own country" and “Are you stupid?” while continuously accusing him of punching him in the face.
Griffiths said she did not see a physical confrontation. The suspect did not appear to have visible injuries in the video.
Passengers are seen lightly pushing away the man in the hard-hat and standing between the two men.
“He’s not from around this town, I can tell by his face,” the man in the hard-hat can be heard saying. He then starts gathering his belongings and walks down the stairs of the streetcar while yelling.
“At one point I called the guy a racist and he said ‘Yeah, so what? Go Trump,’” Griffiths said. “Unfortunately, I didn’t catch that one on camera. I really wish I had. I think it just shows the way Trump’s rhetoric has normalized these behaviours in a lot of ways and made it seem like it’s acceptable for people to voice these things.”
In a second video posted by Griffiths a short time later, the man in the hard-hat is seen tapping on the window of the streetcar from the outside, still yelling.
“The guy did leave at one point and then came back a minute later screaming,” Griffiths said.
The video ends with the man who was yelling walking away.
Police were later called to the scene.
Officers spoke to the two people involved, Toronto police spokesperson Caroline de Kloet told CP24. Neither of the men wanted to press charges, she said.
“It doesn’t surprise me that the victim didn’t lay charges because he had been threatened. He kept apologizing for wasting our time and causing the streetcar to be delayed,” Griffiths said. “It was a heartbreaking response and he just seemed really disheartened. We were all trying to actively support him.”
TTC spokesperson Brad Ross said he could not comment on the incident specifically, but that the TTC must be a space that is safe, secure and free from harassment of any kind for all.
The TTC will continue to work with police to make sure incidents like this do not happen, he said