A person of color was stopped from exiting a grocery store by a white man who accused of him being an “illegal alien.”
It could have been one of thousands of racist incidents happening in the United States every day. But this particular case of racial profiling happened in London, Canada.
Police in London responded to a call about an altercation between two males at a Sobeys store on Wednesday.
The incident was partially caught on video which was then posted on social media. The clipping shows a man in a red shirt blocking the path of a bearded young person-of -color in a hoodie, who wanted to get out of the store.
Katie Pocasangre Montoya, who filmed the altercation, said the man in the red shirt accused the other of“being an ‘illegal alien’ and won’t allow him to leave the store.”
As the man in the hoodie tried to leave the store, the white man pushed him back.
“I want to leave, stop assaulting me,” the man in the hoodie says in the video. “I want to leave.”
“Don’t touch him, why are you touching him?” a woman, possibly Montoya, told the white man.
The white man also had a phone to his ears and had reportedly called the cops on the young man. Hetold the man in the hoodie to show him his “Canadian documentation” if he is so afraid to be “deported” and threatened to make a “citizen’s arrest.”
These statements cannot be heard on the phone but are taken from Montoya’s account of the incident. The woman also made a point to let her viewers know the man in the hoodie did not steal anything from the store.
When the police arrived, they learnt the man in the red shirt had assaulted the person-of-color, according to Police Const. George Demopoulos.
The victim declined to press charges and the police have yet to confirm if it was a hate crime.
“It’s difficult to say whether it was hate-motivated, but obviously race did play a part in the incident,” said Demopolous.
Sobeys said a customer at the store had already called the police when the bystander started recording the incident.
The London Police Services Board said there has been an increase in hate crimes in the past two years. They reported there were 64 such incidents reported in 2017 compared to 40 incidents in 2016.
This latest incident occurred during a time of increasing tensions surrounding the issue of immigration in Canada. Nevertheless, there is absolutely no reason for a citizen to confront an innocent bystander and accuse him of entering a country illegally or some other crime with zero evidence. It is time that law enforcement officers in both the United States and Canada start arresting these troublemakers whose false phone calls not just waste time and resource of the police department but can result in everlasting harm to the victim or even their community as a whole.
It is time for racism to end and for the perpetrators to be held accountable.
Banner / Thumbnail : Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images