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G20 lawsuit: TTC driver in full uniform

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Elroy Yau
Elroy Yau

Below is an article in the Toronto Star about a lawsuit filed by Elroy Lau against the Toronto Police.

What the article fails to mention was that Mr Elroy Yau was in FULL TTC uniform at the time of the incident, with uniformed TTC Supervisors and Transit Police there waiting for him. Both Transit Police and TTC Supervisors advised the arresting officers that there was a need for Yau to be there but it fell on deaf ears.

A TTC employee allegedly scooped from the street and thrown behind bars while on his way to work during the G20 summit is suing Toronto police for more than $3 million.

Elroy Yau, a 39-year-old who worked as a TTC fare collector at the time, is seeking damages from the police services board for what he calls a breach of Charter rights that left him shaken, depressed and unable to work for months.

“I try not to think about it,” said Yau, who has since been transferred from his fare collecting position to a job driving TTC streetcars due to claustrophobic symptoms he says surfaced after the G20 incident.

News of Yau’s lawsuit comes less than two weeks after Ontario’s police watchdog released a scathing systemic review into police conduct during the G20 weekend in June 2010. The investigative report by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director detailed controversial tactics that saw police round up and detain more than 1,000 people in cramped detention centres, only to be later released without charge.

According to his statement of claim filed last October, Yau was walking toward Queen’s Park station at around 7 p.m. on June 26 when an unidentified plainclothes officer knocked him to the ground. Another officer then pinned him to the ground and shackled his legs, despite his TTC identification. He was then allegedly sent to the makeshift G20 detention facility on Eastern Ave. and held for 29 hours before he was released without charge, the claim said.

Nearly two years later, Yau says he still suffers flashbacks from his time in custody. He was diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder following his arrest and spent almost three months on unpaid leave from his job as a result, he said.

“Nobody would pay for it. I ripped through my savings paying my mortgage,” said Yau, who lives in a downtown Toronto condo with his two dogs.

Yau’s claim, which has not yet been proven in court, follows a $45-million class action lawsuit launched against the Toronto Police Services Board and the Attorney-General of Canada last summer on behalf of about 1,000 people arrested during the Toronto summit. Lawyers have scheduled a court hearing for December 2012 to seek approval to go to trial as a class action, according to lawyer Kent Elson of Klippensteins Barristers and Solicitors.

The police services board has not yet filed a statement of defence in response to Yau’s lawsuit, but board spokesperson Alok Mukherjee said he expected the board’s legal counsel to file the statement “within the established time frame, after fully reviewing the claim.”

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Aki (Akifumi Miura)
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