Video posted to Twitter Monday evening shows a man hurling racist comments at another streetcar rider in Toronto, while commuters try to hold him back.
The man in the video says the target of his anger punched him in the face, but other passengers say they didn’t see any physical contact between the two and described the incident as racially motivated.
In the video, the white man wearing a blue hoodie, green hat and construction helmet continually berates the other passenger, who appears to be a visible minority.
He then asks if the victim is stupid and threatens violence against him, while other passengers ask him to “calm down” and leave the streetcar.
At the time the footage was recorded, the driver had stopped the streetcar, activated the alarm for police assistance and can also be seen trying to separate the two men with the help of passengers.
Valeska Griffiths, who recorded the videos, says the man also endorsed U.S. President-elect Donald Trump. She said it’s not surprising given the wave of hate crimes in the U.S.
“You don’t want to see it here and it’s just very sad that this happened,” she told Global News Tuesday.
“I think that he was proud of the way that he felt. I think that now that Trump’s rhetoric has kind of normalized this kind of belief, I think that he feels that he’s justified. I think we’re going to be seeing a lot more of it.”
Griffiths said the hardest part of the encounter was the victim’s reaction.
“He kept apologizing for wasting everyone’s time and it was really heartbreaking,” she said. “We were all just trying so hard to actively support him and I feel terrible for him. He just seemed like a really sweet guy.”
TTC spokesman Brad Ross spoke out against the incident and said the driver handled the situation appropriately by calling for help.
“We condemn the racism and the language used very, very strongly.”
Ross said police responded and spoke to both men, but neither wanted to press charges so the case is now considered closed.
The incident occurred on the 512 St. Clair route late Monday afternoon.
Story by Leslie Whyte, Global News