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Edmonton liquor store employee faces racist tirade after customer refuses to wear mask

Click to play video 'Edmonton liquor store racist tirade' Edmonton liquor store racist tirade
WATCH ABOVE: A liquor store employee is speaking out after being confronted by a customer. The employee says it started as a result of Edmonton's new mask law but spiraled in a racist tirade. Sarah Komadina has the details.

A man’s racist rant at an Edmonton liquor store was caught on video surveillance Sunday afternoon.

The footage shows a man, who is not wearing a mask, move around the store and confront an employee at Olympia Liquor on 137 Avenue.

Read more: COVID-19: Here’s where you have to wear a mask in Alberta

Store supervisor Navdeep Singh said the man was acting confrontational as soon as he entered the store.

“There were already two customers in the store. He started yelling at me about the mask. He said, ‘If you’re going to wear this thing, I’m not going to shop at the store. I will leave,'” Singh said. “He used rude language, but I’m not going to use the language he used.”

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There is a sign on the door that asks customers to “Please wear [a] mask” while inside the store, but Singh said he didn’t have a chance to mention the rule before the man started shouting.

Read more: Face masks are mandatory for Edmonton kids over 2. How can they be made comfortable?

Singh said he directed the man to the exit, but he remained inside the store.

The confrontation comes after new rules came into place on Aug. 1, when the City of Edmonton introduced a temporary bylaw that makes face coverings mandatory inside public spaces and public transit.

The fine for not complying with the mask bylaw is $100.

Read more: Mixed reaction to Edmonton’s mandatory mask bylaw on Day 1

One of the customers in the store also approached the man, asking him to calm down, Singh said.

“He started yelling at [the other customer]. He looked like he was going to get aggressive. I thought he might harm that customer so I went over to make sure he didn’t.”
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In a separate video circulating on social media, the man is seen in close proximity to two different men, both masked, while pointing and yelling racist remarks about “you people” coming to Canada.

As the man was leaving, he yelled “You’ve got to respect our country. Look how stupid [your] f***ing beard is.”
Singh said he calmly responded, “Don’t talk [about my] beard.”

The man then entered the store once more to confront Singh and yelled “I can talk about your beard if I want. You want to talk about your beard? I’ve grown up in this country my whole life… You dumb f***.”

“He was making comments about my looks, about my race,” Singh said. “I would like to ask that person what makes him think that we are doing damage to this country.”

Read more: Masks more important than disinfectant for COVID-19 prevention, experts say

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“Canadians are the nicest f***ing people in the world and your belief system is not better than our f***ing lives, you got that buddy?” the man said as he directed his comments at Singh. “You are brainwashed.”

Singh said he didn’t realize a video of the incident had gained traction online. He said he has seen comments from people saying they are sorry on behalf of all Canadians about what happened inside the liquor store.

“I’m getting huge support from people. People are coming in, they are very generous. They are being wonderful.” Singh said. “If this bylaw is helping seniors or the people who are the risk of COVID-19 we should wear the mask. I’m in support of the mask.”

Singh said he wasn’t worried about having to enforce face coverings before this incident.

“Now I am worried. I don’t know how people are going to react when I ask them to wear a mask,” he said. “But, I think this was a one in a million kind of person. In my opinion Canadians are very supportive. There’s no doubt about that.”

Edmonton Police Service told Global News they are aware of the video and are investigating. EPS said it encourages anyone who witnesses something like this incident to file a formal complaint before taking to social media, as it can “often compromise an investigation when posted to social media first.”

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