Woman arrested after altercation with anti-racism protesters outside Richmond courthouse, RCMP say
Police in Richmond say they are still investigating after an altercation between anti-racism protesters and a woman outside the city's courthouse on Wednesday afternoon.
The 44-year-old woman from Vancouver has been arrested and released on a promise to appear in court on Oct. 20, Richmond RCMP say in a news release issued Thursday.
Police have not named the woman. They say she faces possible charges of assault and mischief.
The arrest stems from an incident that occurred around 2:30 p.m. outside Richmond provincial court.
Several protesters were outside the courthouse because the two people accused in an alleged hate incident in a Steveston coffee shop in March were scheduled to appear in court that afternoon.
A separate confrontation between protesters and the man facing a charge of mischief in that case was caught on camera Wednesday afternoon.
Police say demonstrators told them that the woman exited the courthouse and confronted them, "hitting several of them and damaging at least one cell phone in the process."
No one was seriously injured in the incident, police say.
Richmond RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Ian Henderson says in the news release that reports that the woman's motivation for confronting the protesters was anti-Asian sentiment "may be inaccurate."
“Initial information suggests the accused had been at the courthouse on a completely unrelated matter, and took offence to being video recorded by demonstrators," Henderson says. "Richmond RCMP investigators continue to investigate this matter fully, and we encourage the public to reserve judgment at least until the investigation is complete."
Multiple protesters have contacted CTV News Vancouver to say that the woman was a passerby. They allege that she started the confrontation by smashing protesters' signs near the street before entering the building, and became violent when the demonstrators attempted to ask why she had done so.
“Hate has no place in Richmond, and we support those in our community who are standing up against it," Henderson says in the release. “But initial media reports alleging that this matter was yet another hate incident may be inaccurate."
CTV News did not describe the incident as an anti-Asian hate crime in its reporting on Wednesday.
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