Hamilton

Niagara police charge Hamilton woman after 'concerning' racist rant in a parking lot

The purported parking dispute took place on Boxing Day at the Outlet Collection on Taylor Road and the video documenting the incident has thousands of views.

Officers say Patricia Zammit, 51, of Hamilton will be in court on Feb. 3, 2020

Niagara Police are charging 51-year-old Patricia Zammit of Hamilton with assault and uttering threats after the racist incident on Boxing Day was recorded and shared online. (Facebook)

A Hamilton woman in a racist video Niagara police called "concerning" is facing charges for assault and uttering threats.

Officers responded to a call about a parking dispute turned ugly on Boxing Day at the Outlet Collection at Niagara on Taylor Road in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

A 66-second video, which appears to have been recorded in the mall's parking lot by a visible minority involved in the altercation, seemingly shows a woman using derogatory remarks against Asian people before swatting at the recording device.

"You don't know what a signal is? Guess what? Even in China they have signal lights," she says in the video.

The woman then accuses the person recording of trying to kick her, before threatening to call police.

"Can we please just chill?" asks one of the people involved in the incident.

Police have charged Patricia Zammit, 51, of Hamilton.

'Overt racism' played a role in argument

Const. Philip Gavin of Niagara Regional Police Service says officers responded to a number of parking disputes that day, but didn't experience any other situations like this one.

"It's safe to say racism played a role in this incident," Const. Gavin said in a phone interview.

"One could see potentially there may be an assault (charge), but I'm not the primary investigator so I wouldn't want to speculate."

It's safe to say racism played a role in this incident.- Const. Philip Gavin, Niagara Regional Police Service

Gavin was unable to confirm how many people were involved in the incident as the investigation is ongoing.

Social media 'helpful' and 'a distraction'

The video spread on social media with cyber sleuths trying to identify the people involved in the incident.

"Sometimes people just choose to put it on social media and don't come to us at all and then we have a lot of people that have concerns and thoughts," Gavin said.

"It can be helpful because it can bring light and cause people to be identified ... it can, at times, become a distraction and it can hinder the investigation."

Zammit will be in court on Feb. 3, 2020.

A parking dispute turned ugly at the Outlet Collection in Niagara-on-the-Lake after a person began to use racial slurs against Asian people. (Google Maps)

About the Author

Bobby Hristova

Reporter/Editor

Bobby Hristova is a reporter/editor with CBC Hamilton. Email: bobby.hristova@cbc.ca

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