Ottawa police are investigating two consecutive incidents reported as hate crimes against Asian men last week.
The first incident occurred on Oct. 8 in the parking lot of a Vietnamese restaurant in Barrhaven, a suburban neighborhood southwest of the Canadian capital.
While finishing their dinner, Perry So and his fiancée saw a man repeatedly spit on the driver’s window of his car.
So exited the restaurant and approached the perpetrator, who had parked close to his vehicle and assumed nobody saw his actions.
“I saw him playing on his phone, an older guy, a white man maybe 50 to 60. He didn’t even look up at me from his phone,” So told the Ottawa Citizen. “I guess he didn’t expect me to see him do it, and now he’s just straight-up ignoring me.
“We’re in the middle of a pandemic and he’s spitting on my car.”
So immediately called the police but was told that his concern was not a priority. He managed to be in contact by Sunday.
“Thank you for the support everyone. Rest assured, I have gone through the necessary steps and the Ottawa Police Service has been in contact now and will be dealing with the matter,” So wrote in a Facebook comment.
The second incident occurred the following day outside the Rideau Centre. The victim, Justin Tang, a photojournalist, documented the matter in a now-viral Twitter thread.
Tang just strapped on a face mask to enter the mall when he came across a White man, who held the door open for him and another woman.
He thanked the stranger for the gesture, but to his horror, what he heard next was a death threat.
“As I passed, he told me how being forced to wear a mask (he wasn’t wearing one) makes him ‘want to kill Asians,'” Tang recalled.
Me and another woman put on our masks and walked up to the doors. A white man held it open for us, and I thanked him. As I passed, he told me how being forced to wear a mask (he wasn’t wearing one) makes him “want to kill Asians.”
— Justin Tang (@jstntng) October 9, 2020
Tang called the man out for his remarks, but the latter only justified and reiterated his wish.
“I told him that was an unkind thing to say. He told me ‘Yeah, but war is war,’ then repeated his wish to kill Asians,” Tang said. “Hard to know how to take it. He was clear, but possibly wasn’t in his right mind. Nonetheless, disturbing and wrong.”
Tang said the man did not follow or threaten him directly, but he was nonetheless “shaken up.” He also reported the incident to the police.
“I’m sharing this because I want there to be no mistake that hate is alive and well, and here,” Tang noted. “We all gotta do what we can to stand up against it.”
I will add that I have filed a report with Ottawa Police. Race and policing are complicated, but OPS has an active campaign addressing hate & a kind detective who took my call. Reporting this could help, for statistics, education and prevention. https://t.co/TBGgP9kVpr
— Justin Tang (@jstntng) October 10, 2020
He added, “In terms of racism, Canada’s not exceptional. What IS exceptional is the love & care we choose to give each other NOW.”
On Tuesday, the Ottawa Police Service asked for witnesses and encouraged others who have experienced similar incidents to file a report.
“The Service takes these incidents very seriously and they will be fully investigated,” it said, according to CBC.
Feature Images via Perry So (left) and Justin Tang (right)