Student alleges police station assault

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By Allan Woods

Toronto police have launched an internal investigation after a Ryerson student filed a complaint saying he was assaulted in a police station after nearby bar fight.

Brian Yuen, 23, a fourth-year business management student, was arrested early Friday morning outside The Fuel Station at the corner of Gerrard Street East and Jarvis Street.

The arrest came after an off-duty police officer was hit over the head with a beer bottle while trying to break up a fight, police said.

Yuen was taken into police custody in 51 Division shortly after and charged with assault with a weapon and assault with a dangerous weapon.

While being released from the Regent Street station later in the morning, Yuen filed a complaint, alleging her was beaten while being held there.

Hospital reports from St. Michael’s say Yuen was treated for a number of injuries at 3:37 a.m. Friday, including a ruptured left eardrum and facial bruises.

Yuen said he was escorted in handcuffs into the hospital and passed by three or four people sitting in the waiting room.

“I couldn’t hear anything in my left ear,” he said. “They had to suction the blood out.”

He said his ears have stopped ringing, but he still has difficulty breathing and bruises on his chest, left shoulder and wrists.

Detectives from the neighbouring 52 Division have been called in to investigate the events surrounding Yuen’s arrest, including the actions of the off-duty officer and Yuen’s claim that he was assaulted while in police custody.

Staff Sergeant Roy Fata of 51 Division said the off-duty officer at The Fuel Station had a Glock semi-automatic service pistol at the time of the incident and pulled it out to make the arrest.

“Our rules say you’re not supposed to be carrying a gun,” said Fata, adding the only time an off-duty officer should have one is on the way to and from work.

Fata said the officer was only trying to break up a fight between two men when he was struck with the bottle, and was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Staff Sergeant Fred Ellarby of Toronto police’s corporate communications couldn’t release any more details Tuesday because the investigation is continuing.

A Neill-Wycik co-operative college resident, who works as a bouncer at The Fuel Station, was also hit when the beer bottle shattered.

The worker suffered cornea damage after shards of glass hit him in the eye.

He had to be taken to Mount Sinai hospital Friday where he was treated and released.

Yuen didn’t want to talk about the charges related to what went on outside The Fuel Station, but said what happened at the police station later makes him afraid to even be downtown.

“I’m afraid to go back to school because it’s so close to 51 Division,” he said. “I’m always looking over my shoulder to see who’s behind me.

“I feel light-headed and my heart’s always pumping,” he said.

The fear has kept Yuen away from his business courses at Ryerson, and he said he’s even considering dropping his classes for the year.

“When breathing deeply, I feel like my lungs are going to collapse,” Yuen said while sitting at a Scarborough coffee shop Monday night, tightly holding his girlfriend’s hand.

But the toughest thing to cope with isn’t the pain—it’s the fear.

Since his early morning release from 51 Division station last Friday, he doesn’t know who to trust.

“Now that I’m the victim, I’ve very cautious,” he said.

Yuen’s next court date regarding his assault charges is scheduled for Oct. 6.

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