A 44-year-old woman has been charged after a racist rant in an Edmonton parking lot was caught on camera late last month.
On Aug. 15, Rahul Kumar started recording a dispute with a woman over a parking spot in his south Edmonton apartment parking lot.
“I was like, ‘What’s going on?’ I was actually shocked,” he said at the time.
He told Global News he was leaving for work that afternoon when he noticed a car parked in the emergency lane behind him. He said he had asked the woman who owns the car not to park there several times before.
When the woman was moving her car a short time later, Kumar said the woman started yelling out the window at him.
He started recording when the woman began using racial slurs, he said.
“You can film all you want…,” she can be heard saying. “Go back to your f****ng country, man.”
Watch below: Police have laid charges following a racist rant that went viral last month. The incident is believed to have followed a parking dispute that quickly escalated. Albert Delitala has the details. WARNING: Offensive language.
In an interview with CTV Edmonton, the woman said she was not a racist and doesn’t regret what she said. She told CTV that Kumar left out much of the story and that he has been the aggressor in their various confrontations.
She described a number of other incidents between the two, including one where Kumar pulled his vehicle to hers “nose to nose” and turned on his bright lights before turning off the vehicle and going into his apartment.
Kumar said arguments happen, but racial insults are never justified.
On Sept. 15, Angelique Denise Barfield, 44, was charged with causing a disturbance and mischief – obstruct lawful use of property.
She was released on a promise to appear, according to Sgt. Gary Willits with the Hate Crimes and Violent Extremism Unit.
According to Willits, the first charge was related to the fact that the tirade took place in a public place and the second charge was because the suspect allegedly spat on the victim’s car.
The incident was initially being investigated as a hate crime, but Willits said there wasn’t enough evidence to suggest the incident was motivated by hate.
“In this instance when we reviewed everything it looks like the motivation behind it was that of being upset over the parking,” he explained. “Then that anger builds up, that hatred, and then she just wanted to lash out and use the comments knowing that would upset or hurt the person receiving them.”
He added that the video was “strong evidence,” but that they also investigate everything that’s going on around the video.
“What happened before the video, what happened after it? Is there a history? Has this happened before? We want to talk to independent witnesses as well,” Willits said. “So we’ve learned not to take this video on itself, but at the same time it does provide a lot of information.”
A video in a similar circumstance can be very helpful, Willits said. For anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation in the future, he recommends staying calm, staying safe and collecting evidence if you can.
“If somebody is voicing like that or acting like that, I don’t think you’re going to be able to reason with them,” he said. “So keep yourself at a safe distance, get the best evidence you can, call police as soon as you can as well.”
For anyone who witnesses a hate event, he offered similar advice – be calm, be safe, collect evidence and help if you can as long as it doesn’t escalate the situation.
Edmonton has had 42 hate crime incidents reported so far this year. Willits said that was on par with previous years and with what other police agencies are reporting. A total of 56 incidents were reported last year.
He stressed that it doesn’t mean hate incidents are going up. The number of incidents may actually be going down, he said, but a public education campaign may be encouraging more people to come forward.
“The public needs to recognize this was just the act of one person,” he said. “This doesn’t represent our community as a whole. This was one person who acted out in hate and made these comments and for that we can’t give them too much of our energy and power. We recognize that this does impact the community as a whole.”
Global News was never able to get in touch with the woman in the video, but Willits said the suspect was very cooperative with police. She was arrested after she voluntarily came into the station and cooperated during the interview, he said.
– With files from Phil Heidenreich, Global News