Charges laid after spitting incident involving GO Transit Safety officer

“Disgusting” behavior says GO Transit Chief Special Constable.

A 24-year-old woman is facing criminal charges, after she spit in the face of a GO Transit special constable.

The incident happened on the night of May 22, at Union Station. Transit Safety officers were called to the platforms to deal with a disruptive passenger.

When the special constables arrived, they determined a female passenger was causing a problem onboard and they asked her to leave the train. During that interaction, the disruptive passenger spit at one of the officers.

Bill Grodzinski, Director of Transit Safety and GO Transit’s Chief Special Constable, said Metrolinx has zero tolerance for this type of behaviour. He said spitting at someone constitutes as an assault under the criminal code, and the agency will fully prosecute anyone who engages in this kind of behaviour.

Image shows a TRansit Safety officer shoulder badge.

“This is totally unacceptable anytime, but especially right now in the middle of a pandemic when most people are very concerned about their health and well-being,” said Grodzinski. “Not only is it disrespectful and disgusting, it also takes essential resources away from our frontlines.”

The officer involved is now undergoing health testing and out of an abundance of caution, in consultation with public health officials, the officer is now self-isolating at home for 14 days.

Grodzinski, who is also a retired chief superintendent with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), said he’s heard from many colleagues across the policing community who tell him criminals are now frequently trying to use COVID-19 as a way to get out of being arrested.

But his message about that is simple: “It doesn’t work.”

Back on April 14, a GO train engineer was spit on – assaulted – at Allandale Waterfront station on the Barrie line, as he was doing a final sweep of the coaches to make sure there were no more passengers still on board.

Peter Leon of the Barrie Police Service said that investigation is still ongoing and their officers continue to look for the suspect – and when he’s caught, serious charges will be laid.

“We are extremely proud of all our dedicated frontline employees and they deserve our utmost respect for continuing to ensure our customers can get to their destinations safely throughout this pandemic,” said Grodzinski.

He also adds one of Metrolinx top priorities as an organization remains ensuring all employees can go home to their families healthy after each shift.

Metrolinx has been a leader since the virus began circulating and has implemented more than 40 health and safety measures since January 2020, and has distributed thousands of care packages to employees that include reusable cloth face masks, face shields, hand-sanitizer, gloves and disinfectant wipes.

There are even more measures planned for when provincial restrictions begin to ease further and GO begins to welcome back more customers back to its service.

You can more about those initiatives, and all the ways Metrolinx is keeping its staff and customers safe, by going here.

Story by Mat Llewellyn, Metrolinx spokesperson, Media Relations and Issues