Windsor

Black complainant 'scared to be in public' after 3 charged with assault in Belle River beach incident

A Black woman who's one of the complainants in an incident at a Belle River beach that led to numerous assault charges against three people says it has left her wondering why some in the southwestern Ontario community have "so much hatred for people in their hearts."

Woman says she and her friends were subject to racial slurs

Three people were charged with a total of 11 assault counts after an incident at Lakeview Park West Beach in Belle River in southwestern Ontario. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

A Black woman who's one of the complainants in an incident at a Belle River beach that led to numerous charges against three people says it has left her wondering why some in the southwestern Ontario community have "so much hatred for people in their hearts."

CBC has agreed to protect the identity of the woman because she fears for her safety.

She said she and five of her BIPOC friends saw a couple being chased down Lakeview Park West Beach on June 13.  The woman said that when they tried to intervene, they were attacked physically and verbally assaulted with racial slurs.

"I'm really angry about why we were attacked," she said, adding she's not sure "why they would act like this and why they have so much hatred for people in their hearts."

She said the beach incident is proof that racially motivated violence and racism can happen to anyone.

One of the complainants in last week's incident says she's speaking out so people know these types of things can happen in Windsor-Essex. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

"I just didn't think it would happen to me. I'm scared to be in public because I'm scared it's going to happen to me again." 

No matter what colour or creed that we are, we should all be treated the same. We shouldn't be attacked like this.- Assault complainant

Racially motivated incidents are something she said she and her Black friends have experienced before. In high school, they would get called the N-word "all the time" by other students.

But she said this latest incident was extreme. She's considering publishing her story on social media to inform people that this type of thing can happen in her community.

Ontario Provincial Police have charged three people in connection with the alleged assaults. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

"A lot of people don't think that racism is a big problem in Canada — especially in Windsor-Essex because we don't hear about it at all," said the woman.

"But we just want everyone to in our community to be safe. No matter what colour or creed that we are, we should all be treated the same. We shouldn't be attacked like this."

Ontario Provincial Police have charged two men and one woman — between the ages of 35 and 43 — with a total of 11 counts of assault. Two of the accused are from Tecumseh and the other is from London.

The accused have been released from custody and are scheduled to appear in court at a later date. Police said no one was seriously injured in the attack.

Anyone with more information about this case is asked to call OPP or Crime Stoppers anonymously.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

(CBC)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sanjay Maru is a reporter at CBC Windsor. Email him at sanjay.maru@cbc.ca.

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