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Rear View Mirror: Racist incidents in two Richmond parking lots

The Richmond News reported on April 5, 2017 a pair of unprovoked, racist abuse incidents in two Richmond parking lots
Din Martin was one of two people subjected to racist abuse in Richmond parking lots four years ago

The question of racism in Richmond reared its ugly head last week with the unsavoury incident at a Steveston coffee shop.

But, when putting this week’s Rear View together, it didn’t take the Richmond News too long to find a similar front page.

Four years ago tomorrow, the News reported two very similar, public incidents in a short space of time at either end of the city.

The first involved a mom-of-five, who was reversing into a parking spot at Blundell Shopping Centre in April, 2017.

The woman – who was of Filipino ethnicity but is Richmond-born and bred - said she was at least halfway into the spot when another driver, a Caucasian man in his 40s, ironically with a thick Eastern European accent, launched into a vile, racist tirade for no apparent reason.

The man, who had about five people in his minivan, most of whom looked like young kids, screamed at the woman, branding her an “immigrant” who “doesn’t belong here.”

The woman brushed it off as someone “having a bad day” and didn’t report it to the police, even though she had experienced similar incidents inside of stores, almost daily.

The other incident around the same time involved a man – who was born in Asia, before immigrating to Canada as a teenager — being subjected to death threats over a parking spot at Costco on Bridgeport Road.

“A blue Ford F150 truck pulled up on the opposite side, signalling for the same spot. After the outgoing car backed out, I quickly pulled in,” the man told the News at the time.

“It was clear to me that, right off the bat, the driver in the blue truck was intent on creating controversy, as he started to motion into the spot as well.

“Once I parked and walked out of my car, the white, middle-aged driver started hurling racist expletives at me, as if he had the runs, except coming out of the wrong end.”

The “F bomb” was dropped a few times by the truck driver, in relation to the victim’s ethnicity.

The victim called the truck driver a racist and advised him to “grow up.”

However, when he returned to his car after doing his shopping, he said the same man walked towards him, now in the company of a woman.

“As expected, the diarrhea of racial expletives started again, this time in stereo.

“(He) looked at me and said ‘I’m going to kill you…I’m going to kill you right now, Chink.’ Knowing that I could defend myself, with folks around as potential witnesses, I said ‘go right ahead.’

“He repeated his death threats multiple times and started to walk up close to me right to my face. The hate in his eyes was very evident.”

Richmond RCMP confirmed at the time it had received a complaint and it was investigating “racist slurs and threats” made from one individual to another.

Police tracked down and made contact with the alleged offender and were “still investigating.” The outcome was unknown.

Those incidents are eerily similar to one that happened in the Moncton Street coffee shop last Monday, apparently over a comment about social distancing, resulting in coffee getting thrown at an Asian employee.

That incident is also being investigated by the RCMP, but it’s unclear what charges may result, if any.