A black man and his son allegedly get roughed up by ticket inspectors and the police for not having a ticket

by , under Enrique Tessieri

A new case of aggressive and dehumanizing treatment of a black father and his son by a Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL) train ticket inspector and later on by the police, according to Helsinki Times. The reason: Not having a valid train ticket.

Both the father, David Gill, and his teenage son Max were returning from a basketball tournament in Tampere.

The event, which was a traumatic incident that won’t be forgotten for a long time by the father and son, reveals a system and problem on HSL’s transport.

In the last three months, the cases of aggressive and unprofessional treatment by HSL train inspectors or security guards became public on social media in June and July. The latest incident took place on August 5.

Read the full story here.

The first incident that received wide coverage on social media involved an East African nursing student removed aggressively from the train. In contrast, the following month involved a minor, also black, who was manhandled by the security guards for not having a valid ticket.

In all three cases the victims are black and on HSL-run trains.

In one of the videos below, the father, David Gill, asks the police what they are doing as they detain him. “Why are you searching me? What did I do? I didn’t do anything! I called the police as well!”

The statement by the father that he called the police as well as a sad reminder of what happens when foreigners ask for help. You call for help, and you get detained because the police give the benefit of the doubt to the security guards.

Below is a Helsinki Times account of how the incident developed:

In David’s recounting of the event, they had entered the train and had not realized that their ticket was invalid until being confronted by onboard ticket staff, who instantly treated the pair with aggression and suspicion. David had misplaced his own ticket, while his son’s ticket was found to have not been validated on the train’s validation machine.

“As [Max] was moving towards a seat, the ticket guy comes up and asks about our tickets”, recalled David.

“One of the ticket agents grabbed Max by his backpack. I asked him to take his hand off my son and then calmly tried to remove his hand from my son’s backpack. He then hit me in the stomach with his forearm.”

“While this was happening his two colleagues surround us. We felt very threatened. They asked for our ID then gave me a fine for not having a valid ticket”.

“One of the ticket agents grabbed Max by his backpack. I asked him to take his hand off my son and then calmly tried to remove his hand from my son’s backpack. He then hit me in the stomach with his forearm.”

Taking into account these three cases in the last three months, one wonders if HSL has done anything to improve the situation?

Get in touch with us (editor@migranttales.net/040 8400773) If you know of any cases or are yourself a victim of abuse by HSL ticket inspectors and security guards

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