A London man is facing charges two weeks after a race-related incident in the north end of the city went viral.
The incident was reviewed by the London Police Service hate crime unit but ultimately police decided to charge Phillip McLaughlin, 39, with assault, forcible confinement and causing a disturbance.
The altercation, which occurred July 17, was recorded on video and posted on social media and quickly went viral. In the video, a man in a black hoodie can be seen trying to leave the grocery store, but another man wearing a red shirt forcibly blocked his path.
Since it was first posted, the video has been viewed over 2.4 million times.
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The man in the red shirt is reported to have called the man in the black hoodie an “illegal alien” but those comments weren’t captured on video.
Police say an argument occurred inside the store between the two men before they arrived on the scene. The second interaction was caught on video.
London police Chief John Pare previously told 980 CFPL’s Craig Needles the man in the black hoodie doesn’t want police to pursue charges.
“It’s quite clear from the investigation thus far that there’s a criminal element to this that’s motivated by hate,” explained Pare, adding they’d respect the victim’s request.
Police originally gave the man in the red T-shirt a warning for assault but didn’t lay charges. They haven’t explained why they’ve decided to press charges now.
Investigators say McLaughlin turned himself in to police headquarters on Monday and was released. He is scheduled to appear in a London court on Sept. 12 in relation to the charges.
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The video posted to social media was just 30 seconds long. A woman off-camera appeared to be trying to help the man in the hoodie get out of the store.
“Let’s go, he can’t make a citizen’s arrest,” said the woman.
“But he can assault me, right?” said the man in the hoodie.
“Then you can call the police on him,” said the woman.
“Will you call for me?” said the man in the hoodie.
“Yeah, let’s go,’ she said.
Then, at her encouragement, the man in the hoodie tried once again to get past the man in the red shirt but was forced back.
“Don’t touch him. Why are you touching him?” said the woman.
The man in the red shirt continued to step towards the man in the hoodie.
“I want to leave, stop assaulting me. I want to leave,” said the man in the hoodie.”
For the duration of the 30-second Facebook video, the man in the red shirt is holding a cellphone to his ear.
After the altercation, police said both men left the store peacefully and no one was hurt.
Pare applauded the store’s handling of the situation but is also reminding the public not to get involved in things that could escalate because it could lead to harm or injury.