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Shouting ‘I hate white people’ is not a hate crime, Canadian judge rules

On November 1, Tamara Crowchief yelled “I hate white people” as she allegedly assaulted a white person. A Canadian judge ruled, however, that her statement does not mean the attack was racially motivated.

The assault took place outside a pub in Calgary, Canada, according to the Calgary Herald. Lydia White, identified as Crowchief’s victim, lost a tooth in the attack. Crowchief left the scene, but White followed her and called the police.

The prosecutor in the case, Karuna Ramakrishnan, had been looking to put Crowchief behind bars for 12 to 15 months. She argued that the actions of Crowchief, an indigenous woman, were “unprovoked” and represented a hate crime. 

However, Judge Harry Van Harten of the provincial court disagreed strongly with Ramakrishnan. “The offender said, ‘I hate white people’ and threw a punch,” Van Harten said to those gathered in the court as he made the 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.” 

White said at a recent court hearing that 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.”

Crowchief had already spent more than six months in jail by the time of her sentencing, and Van Harten agreed with her defense attorney, Adriano Iovinelli, that she had spent enough time behind bars already.

The judge decided upon 12 months of probation “and ordered her to get psychological and psychiatric counselling, as well as counselling for substance abuse.” Additionally, Crowchief was banned from drinking or from going to a business that specializes in the sale of alcohol.

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: CBC NEWS

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