Following a report of a racially-charged incident outside of a London Drugs store, Vancouver’s mayor is urging all residents to report any harassment or threatening behaviour to police.
“If people feel threatened or harassed or that they’re unsafe, they need to call 911 to make sure that the Vancouver Police Department is on the case,” Gregor Robertson said following a police board meeting on Thursday.
“We’re going to be vigilant about this at city hall and (at) VPD.”
Julio Montero told Global News he was coming out of a London Drugs store on Sunday night when a man approached him, gave a Nazi salute, and said, ‘Donald Trump Power! Now the power’s on our side.” Montero has reported the incident to police.
Vancouver police have not noticed an uptick in racist incidents following Trump’s Nov. 8 presidential win, said chief Adam Palmer. But he echoed the mayor’s call to residents to report threatening incidents.
“We do have things that come up from time to time in the city and we do have specialized investigators that do look at hate crimes,” Palmer said, clarifying that while there is a public perception that someone can be charged with a hate crime, that is not the case.
“It is an aggravated factor in sentencing,” Palmer said. “If someone is assaulted and a racial epithet is thrown at someone during that assault, that would be factored into their sentencing.
“But actually calling someone an inappropriate name is not a criminal offense.”
Richmond RCMP continue to investigate the distribution of racist posters this week. The posters warned ,“the Chinese are taking over” and encouraged people to join the “alt-right.” Similar posters have cropped up in Toronto.
In October, Fraser Valley residents reported receiving pamphlets claiming to be from the “Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.” Some in Mission, Chilliwack and Abbotsford reportedly contained white rice, seen as an anti-Asian message.
Alt-right is a term that has come to be associated with the white nationalist movement in the United States, a group that has been energized by Trump’s election win and his campaign promises to deport illegal immigrants and ban Muslims from entering the United States.
-with files from David P. Ball