Hate crimes investigators in Vancouver seek suspect, witnesses in alleged attack

VANCOUVER — The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs says one of its employees, an Indigenous woman, was the victim of a racially motivated attack Friday evening.

In a statement released Sunday, the union says 27-year-old Dakota Holmes was walking her dog near East 33rd Ave. and Fraser St. when she sneezed, leading a man to punch her in the face and yell anti-Asian slurs related to COVID-19.

It says the alleged attacker fled after Holmes’s dog scared him off.

Sgt. Aaron Roed with the Vancouver Police Department confirms that hate crimes investigators are looking into the incident, which took place shortly before 8:30 p.m.

There have been no arrests, he says, and police are looking for a suspect and also witnesses.

Holmes says she’s sharing her story in order to send the message that racism is a deadly threat and every instance must be called out.

“Although the attacker thought I was Asian at first, I yelled out that I was Indigenous, and he still didn’t stop and didn’t seem to care,” she said in the statement released by her employer.

“What would have happened if I hadn’t had my dog with me, and if I didn’t have a strong network of family and friends for support?’’

Premier John Horgan also released a statement on Sunday, condemning the rise in racist anti-Asian behaviour since the pandemic took root.

“People are being targeted as they go about their daily lives. It is unacceptable. I have said it before: hate has no place in our province and it will not be tolerated.”

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