Toronto Canada Jan 21 2017 A father and son involved in a violent altercation with transit enforcement officers in 2015 are suing the TTC for the emotional and physical effects they allege situation has caused them.
The suit stems from an incident at Union Station in January of 2015 that was recorded, posted to YouTube, and widely shared online.
In a statement of claim, the two men say they were getting on the subway after watching a Toronto Maple Leafs game when 64-year-old Russell Gillman “brushed up against” a transit enforcement officer.
Russel claims he was suddenly attacked by the officer and thrown against a wall as the officer attempted to arrest him.
His 35-year-old son, Jamie Gillman, tried to intervene but was allegedly attacked as well.
In the video, a second transit enforcement officer joins the fight and repeatedly punches Jamie as witnesses yell “stop.”
Initially, the two men were charged with assault and uttering death threats as a result of the altercation. As of December 2016, all charges against the two men were withdrawn.
The suit seeks $4 million in damages against the two transit enforcement officers involved and the TTC, according to a notice filed Thursday.
It claims the two transit officers used “excessive and unreasonable” force and that the TTC is responsible for allowing “inadequately trained employees” to work for the company.
The Gillman’s say they are still recovering from the incident and have struggled to take the TTC without anxiety ever since.
“Every time I walk past the station I replay the incident in my mind,” Jamie told CTV News Toronto Thursday. “It’s not a great feeling so I try to stay off the TTC.”
“I’m extremely more vigilant when I enter a station, when I enter a platform. I really take greater awareness of my surroundings after this incident that occurred from nowhere,” Russell said.
“Probably the worst part is when I enter Union Station because that’s where the incident happened and it really brings back very stressful, anxiety-filled moments. So I work my way through there as fast as I can.”
In a statement sent to media Thursday, lawyer Michael Smitiuch said the officers “overstepped their bounds.”
“Both the Gillmans and the public deserve the assurances that this sort of incident won’t be repeated,” he said.
The TTC officers involved, identified as Brendan Higgins and Jason Barber, were both suspended after the video surfaced. They were later cleared of any wrongdoing and allowed back to work, though it’s unclear how investigators came to the decision.