Man charged after race-related confrontation in London grocery store

London police have laid charges against a man following a race-related incident earlier this month at a grocery store. Video of the incident was recorded on cellphone and posted on social media.

Social video of the incident at a London Sobeys store has been viewed more than 2.4 million times

A man in a red T-shirt confronts a customer at a grocery store on July 17. London police have laid three charges against the man. (Facebook)

London police have laid charges against a man following a race-related incident earlier this month at a grocery store. 

It happened on July 17 at the Sobeys store on Adelaide Street North.

Video of incident, which was recorded on cellphone, was posted on social media and has been viewed more than 2.4 million times.

"As a result of the ongoing investigation and consultation with the Crown Attorney's Office, it was determined that there is evidence to support proceeding with the following Criminal Code of Canada charges against Phillip McLaughlin, 39, of London," according to a statement from London police.

McLaughlin is charged with assault, forcible confinement and causing a disturbance.

London Police had investigated the incident as a possible hate crime but there are no charges specific to that. Instead, if the incident is deemed a hate crime, it will be dealt with in sentencing. 

In the video, a man in a red T-shirt was seen preventing another man in a black hoodie from leaving the store, and calling him an "illegal alien."

"I want to leave; stop assaulting me," the man in the black hoodie says in the video.

"Don't touch him, why are you touching him?" a woman says off-camera, as the man in the red shirt approaches the man in the black hoodie.

"I heard him say he was an illegal immigrant and an alien. I was shocked," said Arden Keet, a witness to the incident at a north London grocery store that has since gone viral.

Keet was standing in line with her infant son at the checkout.

Keet says she was disappointed that most of the people inside the store seemed to ignore the situation.

"I couldn't believe what I was hearing was actually happening in real life," she said.

Earlier confrontation

Police say there had been an earlier confrontation between the two men in the store.

Sobeys responded to the incident in an email to CBC News. A company spokesperson said staff members were appalled by the behaviour of the aggressor in the incident, the man in the red T-shirt. A manager tried asking the man to leave the store before police arrived.

"These situations are downright scary for our store teams and customers," Jennifer McCrindle, manager of external communications at Sobeys.

"The safety of our customers and our employees is our number one priority, always."

McLaughlin is scheduled to appear in a London court on September 12, 2018 in relation to the charges.