British Columbia

Suspect apologizes for racist taunts in Richmond, RCMP say

Richmond RCMP say a man who hurled racist taunts at a woman and her mother last weekend has apologized. They’re also acknowledging that communication from the officer who responded to the initial report “could have been better.”

Clara Kan says she and her mother were told to 'go back to your country' during a recent stroll

Clara Kan says she was wearing a mask and walking down the street in Richmond when two men hurled racist Asian slurs at her and her mother. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Richmond RCMP say a man who hurled racist taunts at a woman and her mother last weekend has apologized.

Police also acknowledged that discussions with the officer who responded to the initial report "could have been better" and offered an apology.

"It is unfortunate that there was a very obvious communication issue, and we want to apologize to the complainant for that," RCMP Cpl. Adriana Peralta said during a Friday news conference.

Clara Kan told CBC earlier this week that she and her mother were wearing masks on a stroll near Garry Point when two men sitting in a car began harassing them in an expletive-laden taunt on May 8.

She says the men called them an anti-Chinese slur, told them to "go back to your country" and said, "Look at you with your masks, you're what's wrong with society."

On Friday, Peralta said serious crimes investigators tracked down the men responsible, who cooperated with police and accounted for their actions.

The man responsible has also written a letter of apology to the victims and the East Asian community of Richmond, Peralta said. Kan has accepted the apology and is ready to move on without charges, according to police.

In an excerpt of the letter read out to reporters, the suspect describes himself as Indigenous.

"Hate breeds hate and during these times we need to be more loving," the letter says.

'This incident was fully investigated'

In an earlier interview, Kan said she called 911 immediately and gave police the men's licence plate number, but she was surprised by the response of the RCMP officer who arrived on the scene.

Kan alleged that he described the incident as a "he said, she said," situation, and said that because the vehicle was registered in another city, it would be up to officers there to contact the owner.

"It just felt like I wasn't really being helped," she said earlier this week. 

RCMP Supt. Will Ng addressed her concerns on Friday, and said the detachment is taking steps to make sure all officers are informed of the "proper protocol" for dealing with racist incidents.

"We want to reassure the public that this incident was fully investigated from the outset," he said. "Our level of communication could have been better at the outset."

Neither Ng nor Peralta, however, would clarify what the investigating officer told Kan at the scene.

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie also addressed the incident on Friday, and said an apology without criminal charges is "the best case scenario."

The encounter comes at a time when reports of anti-Asian racism, including violence and verbal harassment, have been on the rise in B.C.

With files from Lien Yeung

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