A shocking video posted on social media showed a white man needlessly attacking a dark-skinned cashier at Sunridge Superstore in Calgary, Canada, as other shoppers looked on in dismay.
The incident escalated over a simple issue of the cashier incorrectly scanning the customer’s items. The irritated customer first asked to see the manager, but when he arrived, the man suddenly went ballistic.
One of the witnesses, Steve Lemmon, filmed the entire video where the customer accuses the cashier of being a terrorist.
The unnamed man can be seen pointing at the young cashier, who according to witnesses looked about 16 to 20 years old, and called him a “bomb-making mother-f***er.”
"Before the manager even got there he began with just immediate racial attacks on the cashier. When the manager got there it didn't stop. He continued the racial attack on the cashier. He threatened to rip his chain off and jam it down his throat. He called him out to the parking lot. This is a kid," Lemmon said.
“At that point, the employee was put behind the manager so that the manager could continue to ring out the customer’s order. And it didn’t stop,” Lemmon added.
Another customer — also brown-skinned — tried to intervene by stepping up to the racist customer and reportedly telling him to calm down. In response, the racist man turned on him and yelled, “It’s none of your f***ing business, man. It’s none of your f***ing business,” and then shoved the man hard on the chest with both hands.
According to the witness, the racist man did not attack the other people in shop who were calling him out for his racist language. He physically attacked only the brown-skinned man who wanted to break up the argument. According to Lemmon, this whole scenario led him to conclude the attack was racially motivated.
"It was like he was untouchable. He gave everybody the middle finger. He left there on top of the world and it shocked me to see that somebody could do something like that and feel so entitled doing it,” he added.
After the man exited the store, Lemmon approached the cashier to offer his support.
“After the man had left the store, I approached him just to offer my condolences and say that doesn’t represent everybody in this country and he was visibly very, very shaken up,” he said.
Members of Calgary Police Service stated investigators took statements from witnesses and sent it to the Hate Crimes Unit.
Lemmon said at the time assault charges are not being pursued but the overall reaction of the bystanders who stood up against the racist customer was very positive.
Calgary activist Saima Jamal said she was appalled by the video.
“To come in the heart of the northeast and not just throw a whole bunch of very horrible racial slurs, but actually go and do a physical assault — that’s unbelievable,” Jamal said.
She also said it’s a problem when charges are not pressed in such cases, as it highlights the bigger issue of people being too afraid to speak out.
“Most of the people are immigrants that visit that Superstore. It is almost like a collective shock and collective silence. Like you don’t have the courage and you don’t understand the human rights of this country, or you just want this to go away and you don’t want to face it anymore. The racism is there but that’s where we need to help these people. We need to give them courage and we need to educate them,” Jamal said.
Banner/Thumbnail: REUTERS/ Neil Hall