A video posted to Facebook shows a racist incident in downtown Edmonton.
Jesse Lipscombe posted the video explaining what was happening.
The video was meant to be a shoot for a PSA on how great the downtown area is, but turned sour after mid-shoot.
In the video a man can be heard saying “The n*****s are coming! The n*****s are coming!”
Lipscombe wrote in his post “I walk over to the car and open the door and try and ask him to say it again to my 6’3, 260 lb face, they try to slam the door on me.”
He then writes “Edmonton is better than these fools!”
The post has been shared over 1,700 times as of Thursday.
Watch the video here:
VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED. STRONG LANGUAGE IS USED IN THIS VIDEO.
Lipscombe joined the 630 CHED Afternoon News Thursday to speak on the incident.
Lipscombe says it’s important for all Edmontonians to see the racism that many of their fellow citizens live with daily.
And he’s hopeful that by talking about it, people who need to will change their attitudes. In fact, he’s already seen it happening.
“I got a comment today on my Facebook from a friend of mine.” says Lipscombe. “An acquaintance of his, 21 years ago, had hurled a racial slur at him. It had sat with him for 21 years and didn’t know what to do with it. He watched this video today, he reached out to him and gave him a heartfelt apology, and said ‘I just didn’t know how, or when, but this was the catalyst for me to actually say sorry and tell you that I have changed.'”
— Don Iveson (@doniveson) September 1, 2016
The Mayor has the following statement in connection to Lipscombe’s video:
“I have seen the video and I condemn the use of racist language by the occupants of the car. No one in our City should ever be exposed to hateful comments like this. I happen to know Jesse personally, and he’s a talented entrepreneur, a giving member of the community, and a proud Edmontonian. I have spoken to him this afternoon and I was able to express how atrocious I felt those comments were.
“Sadly, these incidents and others like them demonstrate the continuing need for Edmontonians and Canadians to come together through initiatives like Racism Free Edmonton and other community-based initiatives to challenge these unacceptable attitudes and behaviours.”
– Don Iveson, Mayor of Edmonton
So far, no one has filed a complaint about the incident in the video, according to Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht. But he says, the footage could be used as evidence of a hate crime.
“It could be hate crime related.” says Knecht. “I asked whether we got a complaint yet, I don’t think we’ve gotten an official complaint as such but obviously we’ll review the material, see if it falls with in the criminal code or any other statute that we can respond to and we’ll do a complete and full investigation and charge the people appropriately if we have the evidence.”
As for whether Edmonton is a racist city, Knecht doesn’t think so.
“I’ve policed in 16 cities across this country and I can tell you quite to the contrary I think every city has that element. That’s in flux all the time. We have people who move into the city, we have people that move out of the city. But I would say quite to the contrary, this is not a racist city at all.”
Knecht says he’s shocked that this is the second such video to surface in as many months, but he stands by his assessment of Edmonton.
“If this was a day to day occurrence people just say it’s just another story.” he says. “You wouldn’t be here interviewing me right now. But it’s not. It’s the anomaly. I think we have to understand that, and we should be outraged when these kinds of things happen.”
However, that’s not how Lipscombe sees things.
“It’s not shocking because it’s a thing that happens to people of colour, to women, to muslims on a daily basis.” he says.
And as for the man in the car who is now internet famous, Lipscombe has this to say:
“If anything it would be ‘Thank you.’ Because what he’s did is he’s given me, and given my city, and given the country an opportunity to talk about something that needs to continue to be talked about. He helped lift up the rug for people who thought there weren’t any critters under it, and helped clean house.” (bg, ms, sj)