RCMP investigating racist slur caught on camera in Burnaby
BURNABY, B.C. -- RCMP are investigating after a man was caught on camera making an anti-Asian slur in South Burnaby on Thursday.
It all started with a car crash involving a motorcyclist and a man in a BMW sedan. Cellphone footage shows the pair in an argument near the intersection of Royal Oak Avenue and Ewart Street, when a witness to the crash approaches.
According to Burnaby RCMP, the witness handed his contact information to the motorcyclist. Once he did that, the BMW driver is heard on camera saying, “See you later, ch**k."
The husband of the woman who recorded the encounter with her phone sent the footage to CTV News.
“I just want everybody to know that this type of behaviour needs to stop,” says Gino, who isn’t using his real name out of fear of retribution.
After making the racist comment, the driver is seen walking up to the witness and taunting him, saying “I’m just ready to drop you. Do something.”
The witness does not engage, and the driver leaves before police arrive. Gino’s wife gave the video to the two officers who attended the scene of the crash.
“The witness was providing his contact information to one of the drivers and was confronted with a racial slur, we consider that concerning and completely unacceptable,” said Burnaby RCMP Cpl. Brett Cunningham.
Gino, who is Japanese, said he’s experienced racism his whole life. He worries about his 12-year-old daughter, who also witnessed the encounter on Royal Oak.
“It does happen, and it’s not surprising, but I’m just sad she had to see something like that.”
Anti-racism advocate and Burnaby resident Doris Mah told CTV News she's sickened by the video.
“This is a place that belongs to all people," she said, in reference to Burnaby. “We will not tolerate anyone who takes over this place and facilitates racist incidents or racist hate against anyone.”
Mah recently co-founded the Stand With Asians Coalition, a grassroots organization taking a stand against the unprecedented rise in anti-Asian hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mah says in the four weeks since she launched the group, 1,800 members have already signed up.
Burnaby RCMP have confirmed the identity of the driver, and have since charged him under the Motor Vehicle Act for his role in the crash, but the investigation is not over. Cpl. Cunningham says Mounties are now looking into the comments made by the driver to determine whether further charges should be recommended against him.
“It’s very concerning behaviour that we wholeheartedly condemn," he said.
Anyone who is a victim or witness of a hate crime is asked to report it to police immediately.
“It’s important for investigators to get the evidence as soon as possible. We don’t want the evidence sitting with somebody. It’s one piece of the puzzle that may contribute to the overall case,” Cunningham explained.
As difficult as it might be to recount a racist encounter, Gino believes the only way to prevent them from happening in the future is to speak up.
“A lot of people, especially in the Asian community, tend not to say anything. I think it’s important to get as much coverage on these types of stories right now, so everybody in the world can see what’s happening.”