Video captures racist tirade at Calgary Superstore
Video shot by a Calgary man shows a verbal and physical confrontation between a Superstore employee and customer loaded with racist insults.
The video was shot Saturday afternoon at the Sunridge Superstore in northeast Calgary. Steven Lemmon witnessed the incident. He told Global News it started when a customer became angry over an item being incorrectly scanned.
“The customer was originally just irate at the fact that it was double-scanned and he wanted a manager,” said Lemmon, who recorded the incident. “Upon the manager getting there, it turned to a complete hate-fuelled tirade.”
He said the angry customer continued to yell racial insults at the young cashier.
“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.
“There was references to bomb-making and there were references to things that were just atrocious,” Lemmon said.
In the video, a man is heard saying “bomb-making motherf*****.”
According to Lemmon, another customer waiting in line then asked the angry customer to stop which is when the man directed his anger at the customer who intervened. The video shows the intervening customer being shoved.
“He then turned and faced him and words were exchanged. Then a massive two-handed shove to a citizen who wanted nothing to do with any physical confrontation inside of a store,” Lemmon said.
Lemmon suspects this was a racially motivated incident because of the language that was used and because the two targets of the man’s rage appeared to be of the same ethnic background.
“He avoided attacking back at people who were lashing out at him for the verbal attacks and the physical attacks. He relayed no message back to those people and continued the tirade on these two gentlemen. So in my opinion, based on the words he used and the people he chose to attack, it was racially motivated.
Lemmon said he didn’t approach the angry customer because he had his young children with him but he did go up to both the cashier and the customer who was shoved afterwords.
“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,” Lemmon said.
Police attended the store on Saturday but the man had left and as of Sunday, there were no reports of any charges being pursued. According to the Calgary Police Service, officers spoke with the people involved and the information has been passed on to the Hate Crimes Unit.
Calgary community activist Saima Jamal said she was disgusted by what she saw in the video. She said this shows racists have become bolder than they used to be.
“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.
“The worst part is the victim looks so traumatized and so hurt but he was so quiet and peaceful. He was taking all of this. It just broke my heart to see that.”
Jamal said it poses a problem when charges are not pursued in cases like this adding that it speaks to the bigger issue that many people are afraid to speak out when this type of incident happens to them.
“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.
Lemmon is also discouraged that assault charges are not being pursued at this time but he said he was pleased with the reaction from the bystanders who stood up to the man’s insults.
“It was an overwhelming pouring of support. People were scared. This man was fiery and he seemed very dangerous but people didn’t hesitate to verbally lash back and when he was leaving the store, he was let known he wasn’t welcome,” Lemmon said.
“It’s affected more people involved and I think that man owes more than one person an apology,” Lemmon said.