THUNDER BAY, Ont.- Officials are calling an assault on a First Nations man earlier this week in Thunder Bay, Ont., a hate crime.
Thunder Bay police say the 52-year-old man was taken to hospital for treatment after he was found injured near a bus terminal on Wednesday night.
Police said Friday they would not comment further as the investigation was ongoing.
In social media posts one man said he was getting off the bus when he saw the the First Nations man sitting outside the bus terminal on Water Street. He said the man was minding his own business when “this white walked up to him, the native guy got up and walked away next thing you know he punch the (First Nations) guy and knock him out his face was covered with blood.” He said the attacker ran from the site claiming the native man called him names. “That never happened cuz we were standing close to that native and never heard anything from him,” the posting describes.
The post says the man made his way to a restaurant washroom where he changed into a green t-shirt and too off his hat.
The post says when witnesses pointed the assailant out to police, an officer said “there’s nothing I can do about it and he was the first cop to show up when that guy was lying on pavement he also said he,s not not taking any statements.”
In a statement released Thursday, Mayor Keith Hobbs condemned the incident and pictures posted to social media showing the bloodied victim.
Hobbs says “violence, hate crimes, discriminatory attitudes and actions are unacceptable in our community.”
In a Facebook post, Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day called it racism and “hate at its most vicious,” adding that the political response to such hatred hasn’t done a thing so far.
“Our people need help,” Day wrote. “Leadership needs to step the hell up and do something, this man has a right to safety, dignity and a right to justice.”
Hobbs encouraged everyone to report hate crimes and stand up to racism.
“We are better than this,” he said.