The TTC today released the findings of an investigation into an incident between a customer and three TTC Transit Fare Inspectors on St. Clair Ave. in February.
The Feb. 18 incident began on a westbound 512 St Clair streetcar when the three inspectors were returning to their home office at TTC's Hillcrest Yard on Bathurst St. at the end of a shift.
The customer had boarded the streetcar at St. Clair West Station, standing in front of the doors and facing into the streetcar directly across from one of the inspectors. The other two Transit Fare Inspectors were in another section of the streetcar, joining the first inspector by the time they got to Bathurst St. The inspector across from the customer alleged that the customer stared at him, which prompted him to ask twice if the customer needed assistance and further indicating he was not checking for proof of payment. The customer remained silent, according to the inspector and an independent witness.
When the streetcar stopped at St. Clair Ave. and Bathurst St., the customer exited followed by a group of passengers. The three inspectors exited at the same door. The customer re-boarded the streetcar and resumed his previous position in front of the doors this time facing out toward the inspectors, who were standing together on the streetcar platform. As the doors were closing, the customer pushed the button on the door to re-open it. He exited the vehicle heading directly toward the inspectors, entering the personal space of one of the inspectors. The inspector pushed the customer and the customer fell backwards into the streetcar. The video shows the customer standing up and moving toward the inspector, appearing to attempt to punch the inspector, who was able to deflect it. The customer returned to the streetcar and ran at the inspectors again. The customer was then arrested and detained until Toronto Police arrived.
Following the incident, the TTC launched an internal investigation conducted by the TTC's Investigative Services and the Diversity and Human Rights departments. At issue was determining if the Transit Fare Inspectors violated the TTC Transit Enforcement Unit Code of Conduct, and specifically whether they engaged in discreditable conduct, unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority, and engaged in racial profiling, discrimination and/or harassment.
The initial review was requested by the TTC's Head of Transit Enforcement. In response to additional questions raised by members of the public, the TTC board and City Council, the scope of the review was expanded to include concerns around potential racial profiling.
In conducting its investigation, TTC investigators reviewed video of the incident - both from multiple cameras on the vehicle and from witness video posted on social media. TTC investigators also considered information obtained through interviews with the three inspectors, and other civilian and employee witnesses, and a statement from the customer. Another witness who posted images of the incident to social media and made statements to media outlets did not respond to requests to be interviewed for the investigation.
In the report to be presented to the TTC board at its July 10 meeting, the investigation concludes there's insufficient evidence to support a finding of discreditable conduct against two of the three Transit Fare Inspectors.
The investigation also found there was insufficient evidence to suggest the Transit Fare Inspectors engaged in "unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority," or that they engaged in "conduct amounting to discrimination and/or harassment."
It did find, however, that in smiling at the customer after the inspectors exited the streetcar at Bathurst St., the first fare inspector did engage in "unprofessional and discreditable conduct." That Fare Inspector has since resigned from the TTC for unrelated reasons.
The report makes five recommendations related to the TTC's Fare Inspection program:
1. Finalize and implement the Policies and Procedures Manual for Transit Fare Inspectors, setting out clearly the role and responsibilities of the Transit Fare Inspectors by July 31, 2018;
2. Provide clear direction on the role of Transit Fare Inspectors as it relates specifically to use of force;
3. Review the uniform of the Transit Fare Inspector position to ensure it is consistent with the direction of the Transit Fare Inspector role and ensures a clear distinction between Transit Fare Inspectors and Transit Enforcement Officers; and
4. Undertake community outreach and public education campaigns focused on the role and responsibilities of Transit Fare Inspectors and Transit Enforcement Officers;
5. Advance regular diversity, inclusion and human rights training as part of the Transit Fare Inspectors' bi-annual refresher program.
Video from inside the streetcar is available at https://youtu.be/pZUutVuDihM and https://youtu.be/HtJ9bLPg9qw
The full report can be found here.