Ridge Meadows RCMP are investigating an allegation of death threats, which the victim says were racist, and appear to be racially motivated.
The Sept. 9 incident left a family in Maple Ridge shaken, and the mother wanted to speak out against the racism directed at her 24-year-old son.
She said her son, who is African American, Cherokee, and Persian, was taking a photograph on Dewdney Trunk Road – just west of 207th Street – when a group of people approached him. He had been using his phone camera to capture a sunset, and then was texting the image.
Three people came out of a property in the area, allegedly yelling and swearing at him, and calling him the N-word. There were two women and a man, all adults, who he had never seen them before.
They accused him of photographing their house. Angrily, he told them he didn’t want pictures of their house, using language that disparaged their property.
They followed him, continuing their verbal assault, which he said included threats to hang him. One woman said they would make a “wind chime” out of him.
“He was absolutely horrified,” said his mother. “He said ‘Mom, I saw hate in their eyes’.”
The young man walked away, facing his assailants while he did so – not wanting to turn his back on them.
He dialed 9-1-1, and showed the trio that he had called the police on his smartphone.
“That’s what deterred them,” said his mother, and she stopped her narrative and shed some tears, thinking about what might have happened to her son. She said he could have been another George Floyd.
She is scared of what these people might do if they learned her son’s identity, and asked not to be identified. She is well known in the community, and has offered a lot of community service. Some people will know her from running a breakfast club at a local school, for example.
Eventually, they stopped pursuing him, and he got to safety. The 9-1-1 dispatcher was on the line with her son the entire time, and through his phone was able to hear what they said to him.
She told him that he did a fantastic job to keep his cool, and get away from the situation.
His mother was grateful for the 9-1-1 dispatcher.
“She understood the seriousness of the situation, and stayed with him, and made sure he got to safety,” she said.
Police arrived and took a statement from the victim, then went to the house where the confrontation originated, and spoke to the three people involved. The investigating officer was also a visible minority. After about an hour and a half at the house, they returned to the victim. They said it is likely police will be recommending charges.
Ridge Meadows RCMP said it is too early in the investigation to release details, but confirmed they are investigating the matter as an uttering threats file.
The victim’s mother posted the story on social media, where there was a large response. She asked people to honk their horns as they drive on Dewdney Trunk Road between 203th to 207th, as a way of saying they don’t stand for racism.
“It’s very much happening in out backyards,” she said.
“I don’t think he will ever forget it.”