Police investigating alleged racially motivated harassment of mother, child
CTV Montreal Staff
Published Thursday, July 25, 2019 6:53AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 26, 2019 12:22PM EDT
Montreal police say they are investigating a video shared on social media showing a man verbally harassing a woman and her child on the street.
The victim is a young woman who asked to be identified as Anais. She told CTV Montreal the man began harassing her Tuesday in front of a daycare on St-Laurent Blvd. and Fleury St. in Ahuntsic as she spoke to her two-year-old daughter. She believes the incident stemmed from her speaking in Arabic.
In the video, the man can be seen verbally attacking the woman and calling her a 'slut' in French, as well as making derogatory comments directly to her child as the child cries.
Anais does not wear a veil, but said that while the altercation was ongoing, a woman who wears a veil came out from her home and the man insulted her as well.
"I hope it serves as an example to other people that think the same way," she said. "Keep it to yourselves, you don't have to shout it in the street, you don't have to shout out at a little girl. I think now they're aware people can record you at any time, we can have proof at any time. I'm not expecting anything specific to happen to him but I expect something to happen to our society, to act differently."
Police sent out a tweet on Wednesday saying they are looking into the incident.
"Since yesterday, several people have sent us the video of a woman who was the victim of a verbal altercation with a man. Know that the victim has been found and an investigation is ongoing. Thank you for informing the SPVM of the situation," the tweet reads.
Police said it's not clear what charges the man could face but there is the possibility of a $300 fine for yelling in public.
The Facebook group 'Les Algeriens de Montreal' who published the video on Tuesday, said they are thankful "to the many Quebecers who have expressed on our page their solidarity and support."
Anais said that since the passage of Bill 21, which forbids publics servants in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols while on the job, she feels people have been embolded to lash out.