A man who snapped at his South Asian neighbor with a racial slur in a heated discussion could face charges but not for a hate crime, Canadian police said.
The incident, which was caught in a now-viral video, took place on a local road in Surrey, a city in the Canadian province of British Columbia on May 28.
Karn Cheema claimed that it all started after the man, a neighbor, drove his motorbike on the shared roadway in a manner that his father thought was unsafe.
Cheema’s father allegedly asked the man to “be more mindful,” which led to “a heated discussion.”
They crossed paths again later that day when Cheema’s father was in his company’s truck and the neighbor was putting his bike away.
“My dad slowed down his truck and rolled down his window to discuss the road safety issues and request our neighbour to be more careful in the future,” Cheema told Daily Hive.
In the video, the man — who appears to be with a companion — can be seen lashing out at Cheema’s father.
“You’re a clown. You’re a f*cking brown P*ki! That’s what you are,” the man, identified as Kayl Riddoch, says. “Get out of here you f*cking brownie. Get out of here you brownie.”
The video has since been shared across social media platforms, where people condemned Riddoch for his racist language.
“It saddens me that words that were used to discriminate against my father, who immigrated from India 30 years ago, are still being used against him today,” Cheema told CTV News.
Both parties reportedly contacted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada’s federal police service, which determined that Riddoch’s actions did not meet the threshold of a hate crime.
According to their investigation, his comments were reactive and did not target someone because of their race, according to Surrey Now Leader.
However, “it’s not acceptable and by not forwarding a report to Crown Counsel or charging, it’s not an endorsement of that behaviour,” Cpl. Elenore Sturko said.
“We don’t have sufficient evidence to go forward with any type of a hate crime … but we will be looking into allegations of harassment, intimidation and uttering threats against parties in that video.”
Riddoch has since apologized for his comments, claiming that they “were out of character” and that he will “feel shame and regret over this forever.”
“I would like to first and foremost express my sincere apologies to the Indian and Pakistani communities and any other person who was hurt for the comments I made. I was confronted by a man in a B-Cheema roofing truck and reacted poorly out of anger and distress,” Riddoch said in a statement. “I can only speak for myself when I say I will never forget what I did and that I will feel shame and regret over this forever.”
Riddoch said that his family has received threats since the video went viral, including ones that claim to “violently attack, sexually assault and murder myself and my family.” A truck they own was also vandalized.
Riddoch added that he is not trying to get pity by sharing about such threats but to point out that his family had nothing to do with his comments. “We’re not trying to say it was right,” his father, Ray, told CTV News, adding that they “owned it” and are trying to stop further damage.
Riddoch’s family has also reached out to Cheema’s family multiple times to apologize, but the latter refuses to respond because they “always came with negotiations” — either to make them take down the post or tell the public that they had apologized.
“If they wanted to say sorry they didn’t need to ask the police to come in between the matter, they could’ve just said it on Facebook — where they took this dispute to begin with — and they could’ve just said sorry without expecting anything back, because to be fair, my dad doesn’t owe them anything,” Cheema told Daily Hive.
Feature Image Screenshots via Karn Cheema