Yelling I hate white people’ and punching one isn’t a hate crime, Canadian judge rules
Tamara Crowchief may have yelled "I hate white people" as she carried out a violent assault on a white person, but that doesn't mean her attack was racially motivated, a Canadian judge has ruled.
The attack occurred outside a pub in Calgary, Canada, on Nov. 1, according to the Calgary Herald. Crowchief's victim, identified as Lydia White, lost a tooth in the assault, the paper reported.
Prosecutor Karuna Ramakrishnan had tried to put Crowchief behind bars for 12 to 15 months by arguing that the indigenous woman's "unprovoked" actions represented a hate crime, the paper reported. But Judge Harry Van Harten of the provincial court strongly disagreed.
“The offender said, I hate white people’ and threw a punch,” Van Harten told those gathered in the court during his ruling. “There is no evidence either way about what the offender meant or whether . . . she holds or promotes an ideology which would explain why this assault was aimed at this victim. I am not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that this offense was, even in part, motivated by racial bias.”
The Calgary Herald reported that the attack happened suddenly and without warning.
White was standing outside the pub talking to another person when Crowchief walked up and yelled “I hate white people” before punching White in the face, the paper reported. After the assault, Crowchief left the scene, but White followed her and called police.
When authorities arrived and arrested Crowchief, she told them “the white man was out to get her,” the paper reported.
At a recent court hearing, White said she's still baffled by the assault.
“I still get angry when I think about it,” she said. “I don’t understand why this woman did this. I never did anything to her. Never even spoke to her.”
By the time of her sentencing, Crowchief had already spent more than six months in jail, according to the Calgary Herald.
Van Harten agreed with Crowchief's defense attorney, Adriano Iovinelli, that she'd been behind bars long enough.
The judge gave Crowchief 12 months probation "and ordered her to get psychological and psychiatric counselling, as well as counselling for substance abuse," the Herald reported.
Crowchief was also banned from drinking or going to a business that specializes in the sale of alcohol, the paper said.