Editor’s Note: This article has been edited to include a statement from York Regional Police and further updates from Sarah Sey.
A Korean Canadian woman shared her encounter with a neighbor who allegedly targeted her family in their townhouse neighborhood of Vaughan and spit on them.
Sarah Sey, 26, was sitting in her car when the neighbor, who she described as an older male, reportedly used his fist to hit the trunk at around 9 p.m. on June 28.
When she confronted the neighbor about what he did he told her to “f*** off” and walked away, defending himself by saying hitting her car was a sign that he liked it.
Sey described another incident where the same neighbor had complained to her parents about taking the garbage out too early, while other neighbors already had their cans out. She pointed out that they were the only Asian household in the area.
She wanted to make amends.
“I felt that since we were neighbors, I should go over and try to clear the air,” she wrote. “We live beside each other, there’s no need for hostility.”
The man was on the balcony cussing out Sey as she was trying to speak when his daughter-in-law opened the door.
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“I’m not angry,” Sey can be heard saying in the video she posted. She then gasped as the neighbor spat on her and her father, Mike, who had come to support her.
Her father shouted back at the neighbor in the video, “Don’t spit on me.”
Sey called the experience “traumatic” and said she was getting tested for COVID-19, adding that she has been doing her part so far to social distance. She has gone to the police to do a video report on the incident.
Sey told NextShark that her father is a traditional Korean man looking to protect his children, although she could tell how exhausted he was after recently closing his restaurant due to the pandemic.
“He’s 58 years old and has lived in Canada since he was 18,” she said. “He told me he’s never faced this kind of racism or hate, let alone get spat on in the face. I worry for both of our mental states moving forward.”
Sey later posted that she will use her voice to speak up against blatant hate and racism.
“I will never not speak up because of the ignorance of others,” she wrote.
In the latest update, Sey was told by police that the investigation is ongoing.
“He is under conditions that state he cannot directly or indirectly contact me or my family (this includes any of his family members). He also cannot be on my property,” she said, adding that her family will be using security cameras for safety.
The York Regional Police has released a statement to NextShark regarding the incident:
“This occurred on Sunday, June 28, 2020, at approximately 9 p.m. in the City of Vaughan. A woman was in her vehicle when someone walking struck the car. She got out and had a verbal dispute with the person who went into a residence nearby. She attended the residence with her father to speak with the neighbor about what had occurred. While they were at the door having a conversation with the other occupants of the home, the same person that hit the car was up on the balcony above them and started spitting at them both.
The suspect is a 72-year-old man from the City of Vaughan and he has been arrested and charged with assault.”