Vancouver woman arrested after confrontation with anti-racism demonstrators in Richmond

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      A confrontation that developed between anti-racism demonstrators in Richmond and a Vancouver woman, who was allegedly involved in a racist incident earlier this year in Steveston, has resulted in her arrest.

      According to Richmond RCMP, officers responded to an altercation that was taking place outside the Richmond courthouse located at 7577 Elmbridge Way around 2:30 p.m. on July 28.

      At the location, a group of demonstrators and media had assembled in an effort to raise awareness of anti-Asian hate incidents that have been taking place in Metro Vancouver during the pandemic.

      The time and place had been chosen for the demonstration to coincide with a court appearance of two people allegedly involved in a hate incident at a Steveston café in March.

      Several demonstrators told police that when a woman left the courthouse, she confronted them, and hit several of them. In addition, she damaged at least one cellphone. No serious injuries were reported.

      The 44-year-old suspect from Vancouver was located and arrested. She was later released on a promise to appear at Richmond provincial court on October 20 and she will face potential charges of assault and mischief.

      Richmond RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Ian Henderson made some clarifications about the situation.

      “Initial media reports alleging that this matter was yet another hate incident may be inaccurate,” Henderson said in a news release. “Initial information suggests the accused had been at the courthouse on a completely unrelated matter, and took offence to being video recorded by demonstrators.” 

      Previously on June 17, Richmond RCMP had stated that around 3:15 p.m. on March 29, officers responded to a call from a manager at a business in the 3900 block of Moncton Street who reported an alleged assault involving racial slurs.

      Police arrived at the location and arrested a suspect.

      Charges of mischief were laid against Astrid Maria Secreve and Michel Jean-Jacque Berthaume.

      CBC News had reported that a video on social media depicted a coffee shop employee asking a couple to maintain physical distancing from other customers but, in response, the couple threw coffee on the floor and at the employee, and used both swear words and Sinophobic slurs.

      The investigation into the courthouse incident remains ongoing. Anyone who has footage of that incident is asked to contact the Richmond RCMP directly at 604-278-1212.

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