Hamilton police now investigating Walmart confrontation as a hate crime

Dale Robertson, 47, is charged with threatening death, dangerous driving and failing to remain at the scene after a confrontation between a man and a couple in the parking lot of a Hamilton Walmart on Friday afternoon.

Police are reviewing a video of the verbal exchange as part of their investigation

Hamilton police are now investigating a confrontation between a 47-year-old Stoney Creek man and a couple outside a Walmart as a hate crime. (Patryk Laszczuk/YouTube)

Hamilton police are now investigating a confrontation where a man was caught on video yelling racist comments at a couple in a Walmart parking lot as a hate crime.

Dale Robertson, 47, of Stoney Creek, is charged with threatening death, dangerous driving and failing to remain at the scene after the Friday afternoon incident.

A video of the argument, which police have confirmed shows the incident they're investigating, features a man appearing to ram the person filming him with a truck and yelling "I'm racist as f---k" and "I would kill your children."

Couple 'traumatized'

Det. Paul Corrigan is with the service's hate crime unit. He says the man and woman who were targeted were traumatized by what happened.

"It hit them really hard," he said. "They were extremely shocked by it, they had not experienced [something like this] before."

Police are now reviewing Robertson's social media accounts and security footage from the parking lot. They are also asking anyone who witnessed the confrontation to come forward.

"If we can prove motivation that's a major part of the investigation," Corrigan said. "What motivated this person to behave the way they did?"

He added the video of the confrontation, which was posted on social media by Patryk Laszczuk, is also part of the evidence police are reviewing.

"The video is useful. It forms part of the investigation and at the moment we're still looking at that." 

WARNING: This video contains offensive language.

Laszczuk said the victim in the video is his coworker, who told him the argument started after the couple tried to back into a parking spot and apparently got in the way of the man who is charged.

The video shows a man walking alongside a silver pickup as it slowly drives away and saying, "You want me to go to my own country? I'm a Canadian citizen."

In the video the man claims he's racist and says "I would kill your children first." Patryk Laszczuk, who posted the clip of the confrontation on Youtube, blurred the faces of everyone involved. (Patryk Laszczuk/YouTube)

A man in the truck shouts back, "Show me. Prove it. I don't believe you" before mimicking the other other man's accent saying, "You don't talk like a Canadian."

"I'm racist as f--k. I don't like you, I don't like her," he adds. "I would kill your children first."

Corrigan said the service has "quite a few people" working on the case.

There's no added charge for a hate crime, explained the detective. But if investigators can show an accused's actions were motivated by hate, police can work with the Crown attorney's office to apply for an increased penalty upon conviction.

High number of hate reports

Hamilton has the the second-highest rate of police-reported hate crimes in the country, according to Corrigan, but the detective said that's not necessarily a bad thing.

So far, 58 hate or bias incidents have been recorded this year — about equal to the number reported by this point in 2017 — so Corrigan said rate of reports seems to be plateauing.

The city's police also "actively encourage" residents to contact them about hate-related incidents, so Corrigan considers the high numbers proof that people are getting the message.

"No matter how small people may feel the incident is, we want them to report it."

About the Author

Dan Taekema is a reporter/editor with CBC Hamilton. Email: daniel.taekema@cbc.ca