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Charges pending after racist encounter in Calgary park: police

Click to play video 'Charges pending after racist encounter in Calgary park caught on video' Charges pending after racist encounter in Calgary park caught on video
Calgary police say charges are pending against a man after video caught him spitting at a woman in a park and calling her a racial slur. Tracy Nagai reports.

Police said a man could be facing charges after a woman reported being spit at and called a racial slur in a Calgary park.

Jessica Lau and her boyfriend were in a park near the Inglewood neighbourhood at around 8 p.m. on Saturday evening.

Lau’s boyfriend was taking video of her longboarding when a man on a bike comes around the corner, spits at her and calls her a slur for Asian people.

“All of a sudden I get a big spit on the side of my face and all over the side of my body,” she said on Sunday.

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Lau said the man passed them and then spit at a Caucasian couple behind them as well.

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“In my 27 years of living in Calgary, I’ve never experienced any kind of racism in my life,” Lau said. “It was a big reality check for me and just kind of pointing out this is a thing that’s happening in the world right now.

“It’s something to take seriously and if I can help prevent any of that, then I will do my best to.”

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In a tweet, the University of Calgary identifies the man as Justin Williams.

According to the statement, Williams is a former employee who has not worked there since February.

“We strongly condemn the actions in this video and join the community in extending our support to victims Jessica and her boyfriend,” the school said.

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The school also said past social media comments he allegedly made have been reported to the Calgary Police Service.

Global News has not independently verified any comments that may have been made by Williams in the past, but Lau said other people have reached out and shared negative experiences they’ve had with the man.

“From the sources I’ve heard from, this isn’t the first time he’s done something like this. But it’s going to be his last.”

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Calgary teacher creates petition calling for anti-racism task force within CBE

According to Calgary police, charges are pending against Williams. Police didn’t specify what those charges might be.

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Though Lau said the event shook her, it won’t keep her from going out in public.

Read more: Calgary city council unanimously passes anti-racism motion

“It was an unfortunate event, but I’m not taking it personally. I know that this man is sick inside. He needs some help, some serious help, but I still believe the majority of people here are inherently good people.”

Despite attempts, Global News has been unable to locate Justin Williams for comment.