Police in London, Ontario are investigating a possible hate crime after a white man blocked a person of colour from leaving a grocery store and reportedly accused him of being an “illegal alien.”
The incident, which was partially caught on video and posted to social media, occurred on Tuesday and shows a man in a red shirt blocking a young man in a hoodie from leaving the north London Sobeys. In the post accompanying it, Katie Pocasangre Montoya writes that “a man accuses the [other] of being an ‘illegal alien’ and won’t allow him to leave the store.”
“I want to leave, stop assaulting me,” the man in the hoodie says in the video. “I want to leave.”
The man tries to leave several times but each attempt sees the man in the red shirt get in his way. In the post, Montoya writes that the man in red asked if the other man could provide “Canadian documentation,” if he is scared to be “deported,” and threatens to make a citizen arrest. None of these statements can be heard on the video.
The incident occurred during a time of heightened tensions surrounding migration into Canada, which members of the Conservative Party of Canada have repeatedly called a “crisis.”
The video has been viewed over a million times. Constable Kimberly Flett told VICE that the altercation between the two started with an argument prior to when the camera started rolling.
“An assault occurred between the two, the victim of the assault did not wish to pursue charges,” said Flett “The comments that were made between parties are currently being reviewed by our hate crime unit.”
Flett added that the assault constituted a push by the man in the red shirt.
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