The Abbotsford lawyer whose video of a man hurling racist abuse was viewed around the world this week says that while the episode is troubling, he’s also been reassured by words of support from across the globe.
Last Friday, Ravi Duhra returned from lunch to his job at RDM Lawyers on South Fraser Wayin downtown Abbotsford to find a parking attendant handing out a ticket to a double-parked pickup truck. After getting out of his vehicle, Duhra heard words exchanged and a threat, at which point he went to take a picture of the truck’s licence plate.
It was then that the truck’s passenger turned his ire on Duhra. (Watch video here. Warning: Explicit languate.)
The man hurled a slur, then told Duhra, who was born in Quesnel, to “Go back to f——- India.” The man returned to his truck, yelled “White power!” added an expletive, thumped his chest, and got back into the truck. But he wasn’t done.
He returned, telling Duhra, “I’ll film you too. How do you like that?” adding yet another slur.
In the video, the man is seen approaching Duhra with his own phone, coming to within a couple feet of him. He continues with the racist abuse and yells, “How do you like it? I’m not threatening you! Don’t feel threatened. Have a nice day, sir.” He then returns to the vehicle.
Since speaking this week about the video, Duhra said he has received a number of emails of support, some from as far away as South Africa and England.
“It’s positive to see a lot of people are troubled by the video.”
For Duhra, it was the man’s anger that stood out.
“I’ve never seen before a guy with that kind of rage directed towards me.”
The racial remarks, though, are hardly new.
“Walking down the street, having someone drive by with a racial slur, that kind of stuff you expect,” said Duhra, who has lived in Abbotsford since 2010. “That’s water off a duck’s back. That happens here and there.”
Duhra has two young children who are still too young to be fully aware of the last week. But their lives have already been partly affected by the abuse leveled against their father growing up; when it came time to name their children, Duhra and his wife chose English-sounding first names to “shield them a little bit from tacit racism,” including prospective employers looking at names on a resume.
“I felt strongly enough to do that even before this incident occurred.”
The video was widely shared both locally and around the world, with one video shared more than 2,500 times and several local politicians condemning the outburst.
Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said a 47-year-old man with an extensive history with police and a last-known address in Hope has been identified as the subject in the video.
— Michael de Jong (@Mike_de_Jong) October 24, 2016
Police have been in contact with the BC Hate Crimes unit, which is offering guidance. MacDonald said investigators are looking into what came before the events recorded on the camera, and charges of uttering threats are being considered, but none have been laid yet.