Racist cyclist calls Asian woman 'stupid ch**k' and spits on her at park, nabbed after video goes viral
A Canadian man has been arrested after a shocking video showed him hurling racist abuse at an Asian woman and spitting at her as she longboarded along a path at a park. The disturbing incident unfolded around 8 pm on Saturday, July 18, on the pathway near the Zoo Bridge in Calgary, according to the National Post. It was filmed by Braeden Riehl, a photographer based in the city.
Riehl had been taking footage of his girlfriend, Jessica Lau, from behind her when a cyclist came at speed around a bend and spat at her. As the cyclist passes the couple, he calls Lau a "stupid ch**k" and pedals away. Both Lau and Riehl express audible contempt at the cyclist, with Riehl exclaiming, "Whoa, what the fu** dude?!"
Riehl and Lau both shared the video of the altercation on their Instagram pages and asked the public's help in tracking down the cyclist. The videos were collectively viewed more than 100,000 times. You can watch the video here.
"STILL THINK RACISM DOESN’T EXIST IN CANADA!?!?" Riehl wrote in the caption. "This man spit on my girlfriend @itsjesslau DURING A PANDEMIC and called her a “fu****g ch**k” and sped off on his bicycle. We are outraged." Briehl also said that the cyclist "also did this to another couple behind us who were Caucasian" and asked for anyone with information to come forward before adding that he would be sharing the video with the police.
After the video went viral, the University of Calgary's athletics and sports department identified the cyclist as Justin Williams, who had been an employee at the university until this past February. He was reportedly a manager of their basketball team. "We strongly condemn the actions in this video and join the community in extending our support to victims Jessica and her boyfriend," the university said in a statement on their Instagram page. "Justin Williams has not been an employee of UCalgary since February and his past social media comments were reported to CPS by our staff."
Police have alleged that Williams spat on at least three people and used racial slurs, and that he also threatened one with a weapon after he was confronted. He has since been charged with three counts of assault and one count of possession of a weapon dangerous to the public. After Williams was apprehended, Lau took to her Instagram page to thank everyone for their outpouring of support. She also confirmed that the cyclist had been involved in several similar incidents. "The police have updated us and there are current pending charges against him," she said, adding that she hopes he will stop his behavior with the help of intervention. "I know that he’s ill inside and that he needs help."
Riehl similarly expressed gratitude for everyone's help. "It’s incredibly inspiring to see that a large percentage of people don’t condone what happened yesterday," he wrote. "Jessica is doing alright, obviously that incident was jarring but she’s a super tough woman and I’m incredibly proud of how she handled the situation. Seriously such a role model for self control and compassion."