A London, Ont. lawyer is wondering why no assault charges will be laid against a man who allegedly tried to drag a 75-year-old man from his car during a road rage incident that escalated to include racist language in a parking lot over the weekend.
Lawyer Nawaz Tahir said his dad, sister and brother-in-law were in the parking lot of Costco on Wellington Road South, waiting to get into a parking space, when they unknowingly blocked another driver who was trying to leave.
“He didn’t like that,” Tahir told CBC News. “He got out of his vehicle, started yelling at my father and brother-in-law, came over to the passenger side, where my father was, and started punching the windshield of the door, then tried to break off the passenger side windshield wiper, and then opened the passenger side door, and grabbed my father, at which time some bystanders and Costco employees intervened.”
The bystanders and employees were able to deescalate the situation, although the “verbal tirade” continued. The man said “go back to your country” twice, Tahir was told. The witnesses and bystanders told the man “they have every right to be here,” and eventually police were called.
The man left, but witnesses took down his license plate number and vehicle information.
Tahir’s 75-year-old father is from Pakistan. He arrived in Canada in the early 1970s and worked as a machinist. The incident is especially terrifying in light of the June 6 attack on a Muslim family in London. The family was targeted because of their faith, police have said.
“We’ve asked people to be vigilant and help diffuse situations like this, and that’s exactly what happened. It was really critical and really important given the anger and venom coming from this man,” Tahir said, adding that the June 6 attack against a London Muslim family is fresh in his, and his family’s, mind.
What a horrible thing to happen to your family Nawaz. I hope your father recovers & gets justice for this assault. <br><br>It underscores the urgency of <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/OurLondonFamily?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#OurLondonFamily</a> Act. We need greater accountability for hate crimes reporting & investigation <a href=”https://twitter.com/nccm?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@nccm</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/LdnOnt?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#LdnOnt</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/onpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#onpoli</a> <a href=”https://t.co/6dwGyYvEtk”>https://t.co/6dwGyYvEtk</a>
“It’s hard to say whether this was a road rage incident that turned racial, or a racial incident from the start. We don’t know what was in this person’s mind,” Tahir said.
No charges laid
Tahir is frustrated because police told him they’re not going to be pressing charges against the aggressor because his father got out of his car with his fists raised.
“They said that because my father got out of the vehicle and gestured to the man, by doing that it negates the assault charge, that then it’s a consensual fight. That’s the issue I’m going to be taking up with police,” Tahir said.
“In any civilized society, you should not reach into somebody’s car and grab them. It’s wrong, it’s assault, and we should send a message to people that you have to be accountable.”
His father is physically okay, Tahir said. “We always like to think of our dads as strong guys, but he’s getting up there in terms of age and mobility. He walks with a limp, he’s waiting for a double knee replacement, he’s a cardiac patient.”
As someone who frequents the same Costco location in <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/LdnOnt?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#LdnOnt</a>, I feel genuinely scared — especially that the assailant was told by the police that he got away with this and. So he will continue to go to Costco & continue to assault persons of colour <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Canada?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Canada</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/racism?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#racism</a> <a href=”https://t.co/aSOBTWAcHB”>https://t.co/aSOBTWAcHB</a>
Tahir wants to know why an assault charge isn’t going to be laid.
“We know that prosecuting hate crimes in Canada is difficult at the best of times. For me, I want accountability for the assault,” he said. “Some people need to take a deep breath. Why did a parking lot dispute turn into ‘Go back to your country’? Why did it get elevated to the point of physical contact?”
Tahir plans to call London police on Monday to demand answers. CBC News has also reached out to London police and will update this story when new information becomes available.
Afternoon Drive7:39Our London Family Act