London grocery store standoff being probed as possible hate crime – The London Free Press
Another ugly London encounter with seeming racial overtones, another investigation.
London police say they’re investigating whether a standoff at a north-end grocery store captured on video will be treated as a hate crime.
Police were called to the Sobey’s grocery store on Adelaide Street North just after 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
A Facebook video of the encounter shows a man in a red t-shirt trying to block a man in a black hoodie from leaving the store and referring to him as an “illegal alien.”
“I want to leave, stop assaulting me,” the man in the black hoodie is heard saying in the 30-second video, as the other man – holding a cell phone to his ear – tries to block him from leaving the area near the checkout counters.
“Let’s go, you can’t make a citizen’s arrest,” a woman is heard telling the red-shirted man.
“Don’t touch him, why are you touching him?” the same woman is heard asking the man.
The video, which appears to have been shot before police arrived, shows neither the prelude to the altercation nor how it ended.
The man in the black hoodie decided to not press charges, London police Const. George Demopoulos said.
Even still, Dimopoulos said the matter will be sent to the department’s intelligence unit to determine whether it might be a hate crime.
Ugly incidents with racial or religious overtones have thrust the London area under a harsh public spotlight in recent years, sometimes in unflattering national headlines.
The episodes ranged from the N-word written in the snow on a black family’s vehicle, to the same racial slur hurled at two black stage actors in the street while they were in London to perform in a play about American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Other incidents included an attack on an Iranian student who says he was punched and called “Arab” by two men who said he should go home, and a banana tossed by a fan onto the ice during an NHL pre-season game in London while a black player was skating toward the goalie in a shootout.