Two TTC enforcement officers who were involved in a wild brawl that was caught on video at Union Station have been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Professional Standards Unit of the Toronto police.
The video, which was posted on YouTube (see below), showed the officers grappling and throwing punches at a father and son following a Leafs game on Jan. 29.
“(Police) have concluded that the use of force was applied lawfully and justifiably by the TTC officers involved,” TTC spokesperson Brad Ross said.
Ross added that the officers were assigned to administrative duties during the investigation, which was launched at the request of TTC CEO Andy Byford on April 1.
“It’s very important the entire circumstances be looked into,” Byford said at the time.
The video that went viral cast the officers as the aggressors, with one of them pounding a man’s head with a series of hard punches. But Ross said that lone video didn’t tell the whole story, and police had access to further surveillance videos that the public was not privy to.
The two Toronto men involved in the fight with the officers, Jamie and Russell Gillman, were arrested and charged with assault. Their charges are still before the courts.
Jamie Gillman’s lawyer, Bruce Daley, expressed surprise at the decision to clear the officers.
“(Jamie) is astounded, disappointed, as am I,” he said. “I just don’t see the rationale to find lawful and justified these overhand rights that are captured in the video, no matter what might have preceded it.”
As for the officers, Ross said they are back on the job. One has since become a special constable while the other is awaiting that designation.
Ross said the incident has forced the TTC to confront how it deals with use of force among its officers.
“What we’ve done … is we undertook an internal analysis of use of force and how we review it and how we report it,” he said.
Previously, use of force incidents were only investigated if there was an injury. Ross says the TTC’s policy has since changed and all incidents are submitted to an internal review board, whether an injury occurs or not.