WARNING: This story contains distressing details.
Waterloo regional police have arrested a 27-year-old Waterloo woman as part of an investigation into an alleged hate-motivated altercation at a DriveTest Centre in Kitchener, Ont., on Wednesday.
Police said the incident happened at approximately 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. One of the people involved was Mifrah Abid, who co-ordinates the Together Against Islamophobia program for the Coalition of Muslim Women of K-W.
A video posted to Abid’s Twitter feed showed Abid as she confronted the woman. Abid says the woman made a racial slur, something the woman denies in the video.
“We are all waiting in this line, and everybody heard you here making a racist comment about brown people,” Abid said in the video. “It’s not nice.”
Shortly after, the woman is seen on the video lunging toward Abid, grabbing Abid’s phone and throwing it at her. A second video taken by a bystander also shows the altercation taking place. Both videos have been circulated on social media.
WATCH | A video of the altercation was posted to Twitter. It contains offensive language and shows an assault:
I started recording when she began getting exceedingly aggressive & menacing against me…./2 <a href=”https://t.co/NouZYFCEaY”>pic.twitter.com/NouZYFCEaY</a>
The coalition issued a statement saying members are “hurt and shocked” by the altercation.
“The entire organization stands with Mifrah as she takes action to report the alleged hate-motivated assault to the police. We are ready to support Mifrah with our counselling recourses as well,” the coalition said.
On her own Twitter feed, Abid said she was in a “state of shock” after the altercation.
“This is literally what we do at the [coalition]. We help victims report hate and get supports. I was shaking all over,” Abid tweeted. “We literally train people on how to be active bystanders and how to counter racism and yet, here I was. I was caught completely off guard when I was hit by this woman.”
Police have charged a Waterloo woman with assault, assault with a weapon and theft under $5,000. The woman was held for a bail hearing, police said in a release.
‘Not acceptable anytime, anywhere’
Local politicians reacted to the videos online.
Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic said the video “is very upsetting.”
“This type of assault is not acceptable anytime, anywhere,” Vrbanovic tweeted, saying he stands with Coalition of Muslim Women.
“Our entire community in speaking out against all hatred and racism in our region and everywhere,” he said.
Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife also called the altercation “very upsetting,” and asked Abid to reach out to her office if she needed support.
Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie tweeted Abid is “very brave and powerful to call out such vile discrimination against you and others that were in that room.”
Police are asking anyone who witnessed the altercation, or who has information about the case, to call 519-570-9777. Officers with the Waterloo Regional Police Service’s equity, diversity and inclusion unit and general investigations unit are investigating.
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