Po­lice in­ves­ti­gate racist tirade at Al­berta Denny’s

The Miracle - - National & Int -

Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing af­ter a woman at a Denny’s in Al­berta was caught on video shout­ing at other pa­trons to “go back to your own” coun­try and threat­en­ing to “leap across the ta­ble” and punch them. The woman, who has since lost her job at a B.C. car deal­er­ship af­ter be­ing iden­ti­fied, has apol­o­gized. But she says the video doesn’t re­flect the whole story and that she was “merely stand­ing up for my­self as I was be­ing dis­re­spected that night.” Monir Omerzai, who has lived in Leth­bridge for more than 12 years since mov­ing from Afghanistan, said the in­ci­dent hap­pened in April. He posted the video to Face­book on Tues­day evening af­ter he says friends en­cour­aged him to do so. “All the im­mi­grants that they come here and they work hard, they ba­si­cally start from scratch, and no­body should be dis­re­spected like that for no rea­son,” Omerzai told CTV Leth­bridge on Wed­nes­day. “I’ve lived all over Canada, and I haven’t seen any­body like that.” On April 21, Kelly Pocha from Cran­brook, B.C., and her hus­band vis­ited the Denny’s in Leth­bridge. In an ad­ja­cent booth, Omerzai and three friends set­tled down to grab a bite to eat. Omerzai said Pocha be­came up­set af­ter ac­cus­ing one of his friends of “glar­ing” at her ta­ble. In the video, which has been viewed more than 350,000 times, Pocha ac­cuses the men of not pay­ing taxes, de­mands that they speak English and tells them to “go back to where you came from.” A man at Omerzai’s ta­ble re­sponds by say­ing that they are, in fact, Cana­dian. “You’re a hu­man be­ing, I’m a hu­man be­ing --” the man says, be­fore be­ing cut off. “No, you are not Cana­dian,” Pocha says. At one point, Pocha’s hus­band at­tempts to hold her back as she leans to­ward Omerzai’s ta­ble and shouts, “You want to see a Cana­dian woman come and brute on your f---ing ass? It’s my f---ing home. I was born and raised here. You f---ing weren’t.” Pocha later shouts, “You’re not deal­ing with one of your Syr­ian b----es right now. You’re deal­ing with a Cana­dian woman. And I’m not go­ing to be talked down to by you.” Omerzai said po­lice were called to the res­tau­rant, but he says the of­fi­cers said they couldn’t do any­thing. Omerzai said he and his friends were then asked to leave by po­lice. “The food just ar­rived, it was fresh and then we looked at the res­tau­rant owner and then they told us we have to pack our food and leave now,” he said. Omerzai said the waitress then apol­o­gized to Pocha. “Be­fore the lady was moved, the waitress at Denny’s, she was apol­o­giz­ing to her -- but not us. Like, we were the ones there, we were not in­tox­i­cated, we were not any­thing.” Omerzai said he’s never ex­pe­ri­enced such overt racism, and that he strug­gled over whether or not to post the video be­cause he didn’t want to re­live the or­deal. “(We) live in a coun­try that’s mul­ti­cul­tural and ev­ery­body looks at ev­ery­body the same way … I was shocked, that’s why I was laugh­ing at what she was say­ing to me. I couldn’t be­lieve it, be­cause Canada is a beau­ti­ful coun­try,” he said. “It just makes me up­set to see peo­ple come in there and start tak­ing out things on you. It just makes you mad. I work hard and I pay taxes, too.” CTV Leth­bridge went to the Denny’s lo­ca­tion where the in­ci­dent un­folded. A man­ager told CTV Leth­bridge to con­tact Denny’s Canada head of­fice. Denny’s Canada has not re­sponded to the re­quest for com­ment. Leth­bridge Po­lice said Wed­nes­day that they are aware of the video, and that po­lice are “look­ing into the mat­ter at this time.” Po­lice have con­firmed that both groups were asked to leave the res­tau­rant. An in­ves­ti­ga­tion is be­ing car­ried out, and po­lice said they will pro­vide an update “as more facts be­come known.”

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