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Letters from the G20

Toronto Transit Commision Worker Arrested for Going to Work

by Elroy Yau

PHOTO nouspique
PHOTO nouspique

Editors Note:  the Toronto Media Co-op received the following letter this week from Elroy Yau.  Mr. Yau's story was reported on shortly after his arrest and detainment by the G20 Police in the Toronto Star.

Hi! Some of you may have heard of me. My name is Elroy Yau.  I was the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) employee arrested in full uniform for going to work and detained for over 30 hours; all for going to work.
So the update so far is, I have been off work since July 4th 2010. The Ontario Workers Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) has more or less denied my claim because I refuse to sign a form that forbids me from suing Toronto Police Services or the City of Toronto for their blunders. (But WSIB IS allowed to sue.) I am not prepared to give up my civil rights for that. I cannot believe WSIB is denying me benefits because I refuse to sign a waiver of suing any third party.
I am under the care of a primary physician. I see him once a week. I saw a psychotherapist offered by TTC Employee Assistance Program (who was of no help) for 6 sessions. I have also seen the TTC psychiatrist, and my own doctor is making arrangements for me to see a real psychiatrist which can take up to 1 year.  I am under a variety of medications, Immovane for sleeping, Clonazapem and Ativan Sublingual for anxiety, panic attacks, and flashbacks. Percocets for body/back pain, none of which are really working.

I had everything very well documented as well as medical records and dates. I look at the sick benefits forms he fills out for my Company Sick Benefits Association. I have never seen words such as "debilitating", "not improving", and "poor" used to describe my condition. It appears, after our last doctor's meeting on Sept 22nd 2010, he is going to try a more aggressive medication with even more side effects.
I see a chiropractor 3 times a week. Soft tissue damage and back, lower lumbar, and shoulder damage which was caused when I was tackled to the ground, and the damage caused is consistent with police hard arrest tactics.
Everyday, I wake up, and sit in a chair and look out a window. If it weren’t for my dogs, I wouldn't leave the house. I have lost my appetite. I went from a healthy 155 pounds to a 142 pounds. I have little or no appetite and don't eat much.  I lost friends and feel isolated. I have little contact or support from even my work, or my benefits plan. The stories are true; I am just a number at work, nothing else.
I missed out on summer. I missed out on my favorite summer activities. Pride, Taste of Danforth, Divercite, and Buskerfest. Anxiety, panic attacks, and flashbacks keep me from going out unless I really need to do something. Grocery shop once a week, doctor and chiropractic appointments three times weekly, and walk my dogs. That is what my day consists of. My summer was ruined. My life has changed forever. No BBQ, no beach, no summer, no siting on a patio enjoying one of the best summers in Toronto history. My day consists of looking out a window at them building a condo in front of mine in a blank, mindless stare.
Some people dream of having the summer off; I had it, and I hated it. All I wanted to do was go back to work, back to my old life and live a normal life. Unfortunately, something that will never happen again.

Elroy Yau

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Gwalgen Dent (Gwalgen Geordie Dent)
Member since August 2008


599 words


poor guy

I really feel bad for you man. I faced post traumatic syndrome from childhood abuse from my fathers when I was younger. I still get panic attacks and worse, I still have flashbacks from the event. Something a 40 year old woman shouldn't have to face. 

Quick advice, contact CAMH, but I am sure your doctor will anyways. You ARE on high dosages of serious meds, and you're going to go through withdrawal symptoms that may even lead to seizures. Stay off the Xanax if you can. Xanax is just a legal form of meth or heroine. 

All the best to you Elroy. You are right, you're life has changed forever because of the stupid cops who never excersized good judgment, and the false arrest/detainment/detainment cell.

Breathe... And remember, "It was not your fault. You did nothing wrong. There was nothing you could have done."

Some advice from a Pharmacist

Holy shit. I can't believe all that happened to you. I been kind of following your story, and much as I hate TTC people, you didn't deserve what happened. I genuinely feel sorry for what happened to you. I cannot even begin to imagine what you are going through.

A few quick things. I have been a pharmacist for over 12 years. You are on serious Benzodiazepies (aka anti anxiety/panic attack pills), and your dosages are very high 8/10, but not too the point of danger. If you exceed 24 mgs of Klonopin or 8 mgs of Lorazepams, let your doctor know immediately. 

Unfortunately, If you have been taking 10-16mg dosages a day which is quite high, you will go through withdrawal symptoms and will probably have to go through some mild form or drug rehab. As your Doctor will tell you, ween off it, or better yet, get help at CAMH. Stopping the drugs you are on will cause seizures.

I agree with "anonymous." Stay away from Xanax. Chance are, based on your said dosages, you should just be 'floating' day by day. Xanax is addictive and coming off of it is the same as coming off crack-cocaine, meth, heroin. 

All the best to you, I wish you well. I wish I could say it will all be better, but it will take some time. Don't be afraid to be honest with your family Doctor. They are professionals here to help you, and they don't judge.

The police really botched up the G20. I hope they hang for it.

Its ridiculous to hear that

Its ridiculous to hear that WSIB won't compensate if you were to file charges yourself.  I know WSIB issues fines, but how does that relate to you seeking additional compensation?  It seems downright ridiculous. 

i feel terrible that this TTC

i feel terrible that this TTC emplyoee (on his way to work!!!!) had to deal with the stupidity and complete incompetence of the toronto police department... and now has to live (and i use that word lightly) life with pain, uncomfort and the emotional scars left by those who detained him... i sincerly hope that toronto police department get a serious reality check .. they basically took away the freedom from a regualr citizen!!! Elroy should get the complensation deserved without handing over his civil rights, its only fair.... but looks as though life isnt exactly fair when it comes to this case! Hang in there Elroy!

get mad

 Elroy, have you seen a lawyer?  either to verify that it is legal to force you to sign a waiver, or to proceed with a law suit? If not ,ask for the waiver letter ,to have your lawyer look it over and advise you. In all likelihood it will not stand up, and they are counting on you being so devastated , that you will do nothing. If you haven't started a suit do so, otherwise what's the point of not signing the waiver? If you do none of these things , at the very least , get angry enough to take yourself down to the RCMP office and press charges, you have enough evidence that it can not be dismissed. The first step is to shake yourself out of it,the worst thing for chronic pain is idleness, and its a big factor in depression. You have been through a violent shock, allow yourself to get really angry about it and go out there and take those suckers down. There is no champion coming to fix it, YOU have to be the champion here.

Go for it and Good Luck,  your a part of Canadian history now, make it a great story. Win

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