Published online at GlobalTVEdmonton.com on March 10, 2011.
Linda Hoang, Global News: Thursday, March 10, 2011
Victims of hate crime speak out
Three victims of the city’s most recent case of racially-motivated hate crimes say they’ve experienced racism before, but never to this extent.
Earlier this week police laid charges against a group of alleged white supremacists who allegedly went on a hate-fueled rampage down Whyte Ave, verbally and physically assaulting people based on race and sexual orientation.
“They just attacked me. They took me to the ground and started beating on me,” said one of the victims, Issa, who did not want his real name used.
“It happened so fast, it wasn’t even instigated… it just happened.”
Issa tells Global Edmonton he was repeatedly punched and kicked in the head by a group of men, three weeks ago outside a bar on Whyte Ave.
Leon, another victim who didn’t want his real name used, says he ran into the same group at a different bar.
“They’re like, ‘we’re gonna wash negro blood’,” he recalls.
A third victim, who is being referred to as Nicole, said she and a friend were also harassed by the group.
“They called us nigger lovers and proceeded to spit on us,” she described.
Police say the group had been going along the popular southside strip posting and handing out flyers promoting a white supremacist group and an event happening later this month in Calgary.
“They just walked off saying white power and through pamphlets of propaganda they had,”
They allegedly fired off racist comments and provoked patrons at several businesses.
Issa, Leon, and Nicole, say their ordeal was shocking, and they couldn’t believe something like that could have happened.
“I’ve never seen anything like this happen it’s like 2011, it shouldn’t happen,” Issa said.
“You don’t have to like each other but you have to believe that everyone has a right to live and everyone has a right to be here,” said Leon.
Although the men have been charged, that fact provides little comfort for the victims, knowing that racism still exists.
“You should be ashamed of yourself. I hope you can tell your kids down the line, that you hit a woman… because of your racist beliefs,” Nicole said.
“I’m just upset that they got bail, that they’re out,” Issa said. “It’s just really upsetting.”
Five victims in total were assaulted either verbally or physically during the mid-February single-night string of crime.
“I was angry… but now I’m just more disgusted,” Issa said.
With files from Linda Nguyen