RCMP are investigating following an incident in South Surrey in which a young man was caught on video using a racial slur against a South Asian man. However, it is members of the public who have allegedly issued threats and damaged property who could face charges, say police. (File photo)

Reaction to South Surrey racial-slur video could lead to charges: RCMP

Police say incident itself not a hate crime, but public response could be deemed criminal

Surrey RCMP have opened an investigation in connection with a recent incident caught on video of racial slurs being hurled at a South Asian man.

The language used in the altercation, which occurred in South Surrey, was “very disturbing,” Cpl. Elenore Sturko said Wednesday (June 17), however, it does not meet the threshold of a hate crime. Police investigation determined the racialized comments were reactive and not a result of someone being targeted because of their race, she said.

Still, “it’s not acceptable and by not forwarding a report to Crown Counsel or charging, it’s not an endorsement of that behaviour,” Sturko added.

Actions that followed in the aftermath of the video being posted online, however, do have potential to lead to charges, she said.

Sturko said the incident occurred on May 29. It began began as a driving dispute and escalated into a verbal confrontation in which one of the people involved used a racial slur, she said.

READ ALSO: Surrey youth say discrimination, racism on the rise: survey

Video of the incident was posted online shortly after, but then was removed by the original poster, Sturko said. However, it recently resurfaced as a result of sharing on social media – and has been viewed more than 200,000 times since.

“As a result of that, I can tell you that there has been some threats associated to that video,” Sturko said.

“We don’t have sufficient evidence to go forward with any type of a hate crime… but we will be looking into allegations of harassment, intimidation and uttering threats against parties in that video.”

Both sides involved in the matter spoke to Peace Arch News. (PAN confirmed the identities of those involved, but due to the ongoing sensitivity of the situation, has chosen to not publicly name them or share the video.)

READ ALSO: Multiculturalism grants advance anti-racism across B.C.

As of Thursday morning (June 18) the situation remained a source of significant distress for both sides.

The father of the young man who made the offensive comments described his son’s words as “horrible… words that should have never, ever been said… no matter what happened.” They were made “in an angry moment,” he said.

However, the video shows only part of what transpired, he continued, and that – along with a related Facebook post – is leading others to take “malicious action,” including threats and property damage. The man said his son’s comments shouldn’t be downplayed, but that the reaction to them has gone too far.

In a letter to the victim shared Thursday afternoon, the young man says his comments were out of character, inappropriate and hurtful, and that he will feel the shame of what he did “forever.”

The son of the man at whom the comments were directed said the situation has caused extreme duress to his family, and that any apology at this point feels like damage control.

At the same time, he said he does not condone the public’s response towards his neighbours, and appealed for calm.

What happened deserves attention “for sure,” he said.

“But (the family) do not deserve the hateful actions. There are other ways of getting justice and action, and the public knowledge has been enough.”



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

racismSurreyBC

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Surrey-area associations gear up for hockey restart

But it’s not yet clear when city-operated rinks and rec centres will reopen

White Rock calls for street-banner artists

Deadline to apply is 4 p.m. July 24

Rugby practices to return to Lower Mainland fields this fall

B.C. Rugby announced its return to play plan July 7

Surrey Mounties seize shotgun, ammo, after officers shot at with BB gun in Newton

Police say they were on foot patrol in the 6400-block of King George Boulevard when someone fired at them with a BB gun

South Surrey crash victim honoured by KPU for ‘determination and strength’

Elgin Park Secondary graduate wrote book detailing recovery from 2007 car crash

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Rural Chilliwack residents asked to stay indoors, lock doors amid heavy police presence

Heavy police presence in rural Chilliwack neighbourhood as RCMP contend with ‘serious situation’

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

VIDEO: Plane that reportedly crashed into Fraser River was from Delta flight school, Transportation Safety Board confirms

Cessna was flying over the river near Maple Ridge and Langley when it disappeared from radar

Most Read

l -->