Two women charged after racist comments posted online
Two women, one from Saskatchewan, have been arrested and charged after racist comments were posted online.
“The words chosen are not appropriate and it was deemed inexcusable, so the RCMP conducted an investigation and we feel charges are warranted,” Manitoba RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Paul Manaigre said.
Saskatchewan RCMP told CTV News investigators were looking into the comments before the file was taken over by Manitoba RCMP.
Manaigre said the comments originated from vandalism to vehicles and properties in Flin Flon, Man. on Sunday. The sergeant said people began to “vent” about the vandalism on a local Facebook page. The venting escalated into racism and violence after one woman posted, “Rez mutz please stay on the Rez.”
The post sparked the following conversation between two women:
"Ugh. I think it's time to have a 24 hour purge."
"No it's time to keep the animals locked up or have a shoot a Indian day! …”
“Yah girl purge!!! Let’s grab some Budweiser and some shot guns.”
‘The threat is still a threat’
RCMP haven’t released the names of the women but said a 25-year-old from Denare Beach, Sask. and a 32-year-old from Flin Flon are facing charges of uttering threats and public incitement of hatred.
“It’s not different whether or not you say it out of your mouth or you type it or you put it on pen to paper. The threat is still a threat,” Manaigre said.
After the comments surfaced, one of the women apologized on her Facebook page and said the post “wasn’t very nice.”
“I wasn’t meanin that about all Natives. I was mad about my brand new car being trash(ed) for no reason by aboriginals and said something I shouldn’t out of anger. Sorry to who I offended,” it read.
Past employers release statements
One woman was fired from her job at a salon in Flin Flon. Urban Trendz Hair Studio posted on Facebook apologizing and condemning the behavior.
“Our business has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to any form of discrimination or racism. The person in question is no longer employed by us,” part of the statement read.
The other woman’s Facebook page states she worked in Flin Flon as a mentor and as a substitute teacher in Creighton, Sask.
The Flin Flon and Creighton school divisions said they do not tolerate racist behavior and that the woman hasn’t worked with the divisions for “some time.”
CTV News asked both school divisions for clarity regarding her position and record of employment, but was not provided the information.
The posts went viral and were read by and commented on from people as far as Australia. Tom McDermott, who grew up in Flin Flon, said he cried when he read the comments. In response, he posted an hour-long video – that’s garnered around 20,000 views – with the goal of educating others about Indigenous people and urging people to work toward reconciliation.
“Let’s move forward,” he said in an interview with CTV News. “Putting our hand out, shaking hands. Let’s go together down this path (to reconciliation) because right now, we’re not going down that path and I see it right across Canada.”
The same charges are pending against a third person and that all three suspects are cooperating with police, according to RCMP.
Manaigre said charges of uttering threats are common but charges of public incitement of hatred are fairly unique.
“We have to send a strong message that this behavior on social media can’t be tolerated,” he said.
Attempts by CTV News to reach two of the women posting the comments were not successful.