|A screen grab of a man urinating on a homeless person has sparked a police investigation. (Worldstarhiphop.com)
TORONTO -- Investigators have narrowed their search for a youth seen in a viral online video urinating on an apparently homeless man as he slept on a downtown sidewalk.
Toronto Police now say the video was shot late last year outside the Eaton Centre, near a mall entrance at Yonge St. and Dundas W.
"This is one of the worst acts of degradation I've seen in my career," Det. Kirby Redden said Wednesday of the "shocking" video.
"Frankly, it's disgusting."
The 27 seconds of footage, posted on Worldstarhiphop.com, is titled “Real Or Fake? Cold-Hearted Thug Urinates On Sleeping Homeless Man In Downtown Toronto!”
As of Wednesday night it had been viewed nearly 220,000 times.
In the video a black youth with his pants pulled halfway down his buttocks approaches a man who is curled up on the sidewalk outside of a store.
Then, for about 17 seconds, the youth relieves himself on the passed out man's face while his pals laugh hysterically off camera.
Redden said he believes the video is real and not staged.
Investigators have determined based on clothes displayed in the store window that the assault occurred between Nov. 17 and Dec. 1, 2011.
They are now searching for security camera footage from that time frame in an effort to identify the culprit and his accomplices.
Police are also trying to determine who posted the video on World Star Hip Hop, a U.S. site that made headlines last year for another video depicting three teen girls attacking an older woman on Yonge St.
Redden said he will be charged with assault once he is identified.
Police are also trying to identify the victim, who may or may not be homeless, and they are counting on help from outraged citizens.
"I think an arrest is very possible," Redden said. "But it will require public assistance.
The youth is black, 18 to 25, with an average height and build and his black hair was tied back. He wore a grey baseball cap with dark brim, grey jacket with black sleeves, baggy blue jeans with a blue pattern on the right back pocket and a red pattern on the left rear pocket.
Anyone with information should contact police at 416-808-5200 or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477).