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2 TTC special constables fired for using excessive force in 501 streetcar incident

Last Updated Jan 22, 2021 at 5:26 pm EST

Two TTC special constables have been terminated following an investigation that found they used excessive force during an incident with a man on the 501 Queen streetcar last February.

The incident involved a 34-year-old man, two special constables and two members of the TTC revenue protection service and was caught on video.

In the 12-second clip posted to social media, transit officers and the man can be seen wrestling and throwing punches before some sort of foam spray is deployed in an attempt to subdue the individual.

CUPE 5089, the union which represents Constables, Fare Inspectors and Protective Services Guards within the TTC, released a statement Friday, saying they have filed a grievance with the TTC and “look forward to the reinstatement of both officers.”

TTC spokesman Stuart Green confirmed the termination of the two officers, but would not comment further because the “union has indicated this matter is still active.”

An 11-month investigation into the incident by an independent investigator found the transit officers’ actions were “impacted by their perception” of the passenger’s mental health and their perception was also “discriminatory on the basis of disability.”

Toronto police said at the time, the man in the video, Steven Phackaberry, had been charged with two counts of uttering threats and two counts of assaulting an officer.

RELATED: Man, 34, charged in violent attack on TTC streetcar

The statement from CUPE says Phackaberry pled guilty to two counts of assaulting a peace officer.

CUPE goes on to point out that Toronto police cleared the officers of any wrongdoing a month after the incident and that the independent investigation was “politically motivated and failed to take into consideration any of the relevant legal, procedural or factual evidence.”

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