The Winnipeg Police Service is investigating after two protestors were attacked with a hockey stick following a Black and Indigenous Lives Matter rally in Winnipeg.
Video of the incident, which was reported to police just after 8 p.m. on Saturday July 4, is circulating widely on social media.
In one video, a woman can be seen getting out of a sedan on Broadway at Hargrave Street and charging toward the pair of protestors with a hockey stick.
A second video shows the hockey stick change hands with a second woman from the vehicle — before a second protestor is hit in the head.
Theo Landry, 29, who is African-Canadian, was struck first.
“I was very much scared for my life,” he said. “I’m lucky it was a hockey stick because I don’t know what they could have come out with.”
Landry said the incident started a short time after the #AreYouListeningMB rally for Black and Indigenous Lives at the Manitoba Legislature came to an end.
Rally moves down Broadway
He said he and his friend were marching east down Broadway toward the Canadian Museum For Human Rights, where a round dance was set to take place.
On the way, in what he describes as an act of peaceful protest, Landry decided to lie down on Broadway Street for a moment in front of cars to draw attention to the cause and rally.
That’s when a woman, alongside three others inside the car, began shouting at him, he said.
“She started yelling racial slurs, spitting insults and saying our protests didn’t mean much,” Landry said. “She was very much offended by me stalling her time.”
Landry got up off of the road and said the car moved aggressively past him, so he tossed some water from his water bottle onto the vehicle, he said.
After that, the vehicle stops and the video recording of the incident starts, he said.
A woman can be seen getting out of the vehicle, with a hockey stick in her hand and moving toward Landry and his friend.
“You can see in the video there’s a lot of anger driving her forward.” he said.
Landry was struck twice in the arm and was not badly injured, he said.
However, his friend, who tried to intervene, was eventually hit in the head, he said.
A second witness video, from a different angle, shows the hockey stick changes hands to another woman in the group who was in the vehicle and strike’s Landry’s friend, who declined to be interviewed.
Landry, who is a registered nurse, said she suffered a gash to the right side of her head and was bleeding. At that point, Landry said the group hopped in their vehicle and took off.
The witness who captured the video recorded the suspects’ license plate and submitted it to police.
Heartbreaking attack: organizer
Jylah George-Marie Shallcross, event organizer and co-founder of #AreYouListeningMB, did not witness incident, but calls the attack, and video, heartbreaking.
“Overall I feel horrible,” she said. “I also feel very concerned for the safety, of not just my friends, but for all of the Black and Indigenous youth and the rest of the BIPOC community in Winnipeg.”
Shallcross, who supports the movement to defund police, believes the kind of violence portrayed in the video is what police should be dealing with, instead of wellness checks, for example.
She believes the attack was racially motivated and said Winnipeggers need to know racism is real and rampant in the city and around the world.
“Seeing that one act, that is one of many acts that are not getting out there,” she said.
Major Crimes Unit investigating
In an email, a spokesperson for the Winnipeg Police Service said officers responded to the report of an assault involving two victims and said the investigation is ongoing. There is no word on charges.
“Members of the Major Crimes Unit are investigating,” the statement read. “Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact police.”
Landry, who has filed a statement with police, said he’s not calling the attack an act of racism, but he is not ruling out that it may have been racially motivated.
He said he hopes there will be some kind of restorative justice for those involved.
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