Kamao Cappo, an indigenous elder, was brutally mistreated at a Canadian Tire in Regina, Saskatchewan last week.
The story has since generated protests and public outcry. Cappo luckily filmed the entire assault on his mobile device and posted video on social media; Canadians are able to see the blatant racism and disrespect that indigenous people endure on a daily basis.
Canadian Tires official Twitter handle, @CanadianTire, tweeted that the manager responsible for physically attacking Cappo has been fired and that the company “tried to reach Mr. Cappo again to express our sincere apologies,” on July 29, 2017.
It’s the Internet, so of course there are going to be the super Trumpy Albertans who are asking “Why was he repackaging the extra items inside the chainsaw case?” thereby blaming the victim and attempting to find some way to exonerate the Canadian Tire security guard who has already been canned.
“There’s no racism here, he was acting suspicious!” they say.
Well, turns out the extra items were all part of a lumberjack bundle that he was planning to pay for, and he just wanted to go to his car for a second. Cappo says he wasn’t trying to steal anything and the reason for the protests is because Cappo is a respected elder in his community.
But no, the acting manager said that Cappo couldn’t do that and said he wasn’t allowed to purchase anything. The manager was kicking him out of the store. Despite his heart condition Cappo realized that his human rights were being violated and quickly started filming as the situation escalated and he was attacked.
What is especially sad about this case is that store employees backed up the manager’s racist version of events which were different from the video evidence. It will be interesting to see if the Cappo family presses charges — Canadian Tire’s apology was probably a legal one. On Facebook Cappo released a statement:
“Right after the initial assault occurred and I got to my feet, (and the video doesn’t show this) two other Canadian Tire employees said that I pushed the manager. They were willing to lie for him. If the Canadian Tire videos are ever released all of these things will be seen but I doubt this will ever happen unless we force them in court.”
At the end of his statement he asks other indigenous people if they have ever been followed or harassed at stores, something which most will agree they have.
“Now I ask you to be honest here. Tell me whether you have ever been watched very closely by store clerks or have been outright accused of stealing when you were not. Many of our children, indigenous women and elders experience this and they have no one to defend them. Is this okay with you? Canadian Tire has a chance to make things right and be a leader in Canada in race relations making things better.”
We can only hope that other companies are able to see that hurting indigenous people in Canada will only hurt their financial statements, because the majority of Canadians are trying to do the right thing.