Father and son file $4M lawsuit against TTC over Union Station altercation
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Thursday, January 19, 2017 4:03PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 19, 2017 5:26PM EST
A father and son who were involved in a violent altercation with transit enforcement officers at Union Station two years ago have launched a $4 million lawsuit against the TTC.
The incident, which was caught on camera and subsequently posted to YouTube, occurred on Jan. 29, 2015.
According to a statement of claim, Russell Gillman, now 64, and his son Jamie Gillman, now 35, were proceeding through the payment area at Union Station after attending a Maple Leafs game when the elder Gillman “accidently brushed up against a transit enforcement officer.”
The statement of claim alleges that the transit enforcement officer then “threw Gillman against a wall” and attempted to “arrest him without reasonable grounds.”
The statement of claim says that Jamie Gillman attempted to speak with the transit enforcement officer in order to help his father, at which point a “fight broke out between the two.”
That’s when a second transit enforcement officer intervened and repeatedly punched Jamie Gillman, the statement of claim alleges.
Following the incident, both Gillmans were charged with assault and uttering threats, however the law firm representing the father and son says those charges were dropped last month.
The statement of claim alleges that the transit enforcement officers “applied excessive and unreasonable force under the circumstances.” It also alleges that the TTC erred by allowing “unqualified and inadequately trained employees to work as transit officers.”
“As a father being detained on the ground by an officer and at the same time being able to see (another officer) repeatedly punching my son in the head is I think the most disturbing thing you can witness,” Russell Gillman told reporters on Thursday. “Those blows were vicious, they were violent and they were unwarranted.”
The elder Gillman told reporters that he is still coping with the aftermath of the incident and finds it hard to go near Union Station without being overcome with anxiety.
Jamie Gillman also said that he continues to deal with stress from the altercation and “for a long time” dealt with headaches stemming from the injuries he sustained that night.
“Every time I walk past the station or whatever I sort of replay that incident in my mind and it is not a great feeling. I try to stay off the TTC,” he said.
Transit officers were cleared by police
Lawyer Michael Smitiuch told CP24 that the Gillman’s have suffered “significant loss” form the incident, which he said amounted to a “violent assault” on his clients.
He said he expect the six-minute video of the altercation will play an integral role should the case proceed.
“I think a jury would look at this and say how can you justify this amount of force?” he said.
The two officers that were involved in the altercation were placed on administrative duty following the incident but were eventually cleared of wrongdoing following an investigation by the Toronto Police Service Professional Standards Unit.
The TTC has declined to comment on the statement of claim, telling CTV Toronto that the matter is now before the courts. The TTC has 20 days to file a statement of defence.