Police in Sudbury, Ont., have charged a 31-year-old man with assault following a “hate-motivated” altercation outside a gas station last weekend.
The charge relates to an incident captured on video where an 18-year-old defends a store clerk being yelled at by a man.
Greater Sudbury Police spokesperson Kaitlyn Dunn confirmed in an email to CBC News that the charges are related to the incident July 9.
Police can’t name the man who was charged because his information has not yet been sworn through the court process. He faces assault, assault with a weapon and causing a disturbance counts.
“Due to the hate-based nature of this incident, the matter was assigned to a detective in the major crime section of our Criminal Investigation Division who is specifically trained as a hate-crime and hate-bias/hate-motivated investigator,” police said in a news release.
The confrontation made national headlines when Tamba Baba, 18, intervened while a man was screaming at the clerk.
In a video shared on social media, the man directed his anger at Baba, who is Black, and called her the N-word numerous times.
Baba told CBC News the incident was the second time in her life someone had called her that word.
“I’m really comfortable in Sudbury,” she said previously. “This town doesn’t make me feel like I don’t deserve to be here. Being a Black person, sometimes you can feel like that, especially when it’s a predominantly white town.
“But I’ve never felt like I was different than someone else just because I was Black,” she said. “Even at school, my friends have always included me in everything. Growing up, I never faced racism. I feel like I’ve always been treated with respect.”
In a statement, Black Lives Matter Sudbury said they didn’t believe this was an isolated incident.
“While Sudbury attempts to pride itself on being an inclusive, safe, and friendly community, the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) population and specifically Black community members continue to face attacks of this nature regularly and without hesitation,” the group posted on its Instagram.
Sudbury police said they determined the nature of the charges through consultation with the Crown Attorney’s office.
“As a hate-motivated incident, this will be taken into account during sentencing within the court process,” police said in the news release. “We will continue to work with the Crown throughout this case while providing support to the survivor and their family.”