Ottawa police won’t be laying charges in an alleged, racially-charged incident that occurred in the parking lot of a west-end plaza, but they confirmed the couple caught on video hurling what appeared to be derogatory slurs aimed at people of Asian descent have been given a “verbal warning.”
Earlier this week, Jenny Dao-D’Angelo posted an 11-second clip of the incident, saying she reported it to police, who confirmed they were looking into what happened. The footage quickly went viral and has been viewed about 264,000 times as of Friday afternoon.
Officers investigated and spoke to the man and woman Dao-D’Angelo caught on video, Ottawa Police Service spokesperson Chuck Benoit said on Friday. Police ultimately determined there was not enough of a “criminal element” to warrant charges against the couple, he said.
“The investigation is closed with no charges,” Benoit said, adding police gave the man and woman “a verbal warning” about “the language that was used” during the confrontation.
In a public statement posted on her Facebook page on Thursday evening, Dao-D’Angelo said police informed her that pursuing charges “may not be successful.” She’s hoping now for a sincere apology, she said, and a promise such an incident won’t happen again.
Dao-D’Angelo claimed in her initial Facebook post on Sept. 18 that the altercation began when she was walking to her parked car, having just left a restaurant with her family. The man, who was behind the wheel, became “impatient” while waiting to park beside her vehicle, she said, despite there being other available spots in the lot.
The Ottawa mother alleged the man “hit” her with his car, which was not captured on camera, and yelled obscene racist remarks at her. Dao-D’Angelo said she began filming so she could capture his license plate number, at which point the woman came up to her and “intentionally” hit her on her left shoulder. In the video, the couple can then be seen walking back to their car while appearing to mock a Chinese accent.
“I still can’t believe that in Ottawa in 2018, racist things like this can happen,” she wrote in her first post on Facebook. “As a Canadian born, I have NEVER witnessed such appalling derogatory behaviour towards someone of Chinese ancestry.”
Dao-D’Angelo said the entire confrontation occurred while she was with her baby and mother, as well as her grandmother, whom they had just taken out for an 88th birthday lunch at a restaurant in the Merivale Road plaza.
In her latest Facebook post, Dao-D’Angelo said she decided to post the video publicly because she wanted to “bring awareness to this racial issue” and to hold the couple “socially responsible” for their actions.
“It’s unfortunate to see that in 2018, after so much progress, that we still see forms of racism around us, whether heat of the moment or not,” she wrote. “Regardless of age or geography, racism still does exist and we should not ‘let it go.'”
“Although we have yet to receive an apology, I’d like to offer the couple in the video my forgiveness in advance.”
Dao-D’Angelo also suggested “bad behaviour” like what she claims to have experienced “should be met with love, peace and kindness.”
“There is a civilized way of reacting. This shows them that this is the correct way to treat your fellow citizen regardless of their cultural background,” she wrote. “We can live harmoniously by respecting differences, working together against injustice and cherishing diversity without exploitation or fear.”
“Let’s all lead by example and help each other.”