A viral video taken in Ottawa captured the moment a woman appeared to attack an Indigenous woman for apparently not wearing a bra, according to the victim’s account.
“Last night I was assaulted by a white woman who was upset that I wasn’t wearing a bra. I used IG live to record her actions against me,” wrote Anishinaabe Twitter user Laura Gagnon. , in a caption sharing the viral video since, “I have never seen a white mob chasing me and this is the scariest thing that has happened to me in my life. Please be safe there.
Ottawa police confirmed to The Independent that a 37-year-old woman has since been formally charged with assault and mischief after receiving a report of an incident at around 6:40 p.m. Wednesday at a park in Canada’s capital.
Officers at the scene confirmed that a woman had been assaulted. The suspect, who has not been identified, was released after charges were brought against her on a promise that she would appear in court.
In the nearly two-minute viral video posted last week, viewers can see an enraged woman running full blast at Ms. Gagnon while shouting at her indiscriminately.
The victim, who is filming the attack, can be heard asking the alleged attacker why she is targeting an Indigenous woman and ‘humiliating’ her for apparently not wearing a bra on unceded Algonquin territory, referencing to lands that First Nations peoples in Canada have never ceded or legally ceded their lands to the government.
“I try to document it. She assaulted me and I want her information because I would like to make a police report,” the woman says off-screen, after appearing to be assaulted by the assailant.
In the background, another passerby can be heard shouting, “stop filming”, before the cellphone appears to fall from the victim’s hands. More screams from a growing crowd can be heard in the background.
“I’m trying to run away from her,” the victim can be heard shouting to the crowd, all off-screen.
The suspect is then seen on a bicycle approaching the woman again, before the on-screen footage is turned face down on what appears to be grass.
The next moment the woman has reached her car and is in the parking lot trying to leave the park, but she is unable to do so as she pans and shows the same cyclist planted on the hood of his car, preventing him from leaving.
“Guys, I’m under attack right now,” Ms. Gagnon can be heard telling her camera behind the wheel of her car, before shouting to someone in the crowd who seems to want her phone that it’s “my personal property”. .”
Ms. Gagnon has lived in the nation’s capital for 11 years and recountedThe Independent that until that night, she had felt safe in her town, no matter where she was or what she was wearing.
“I know people felt unrest after Covid, but we need to better understand that kindness and acceptance of others’ bodies, clothes or any other attire should be a given, especially in 2022,” Ms. Gagnon in an email. statement to The Independent about the attack in the park.
“As an Indigenous woman, I am acutely aware of colonial violence, the hyper-sexualization of our bodies and the stereotypes we face every day,” she added. “I want people to educate themselves about the autonomy of the body and the sovereignty we have over our bodies.”
Ms. Gagnon says she “will continue to hold her head up high, inspire and uplift others despite my haunting experience. I know that my spirit and the support of good thoughts, prayers and love from others have taught me that negativity can be welcomed with love. We need these lessons for future generations.
The Ottawa Police Service said it is continuing to investigate the incident which erupted in public space Wednesday night, describing it as a “verbal altercation that escalated into a physical altercation.”
The department also reportedly referred the matter to the Ottawa Police Service’s Hate Crimes and Bias Unit, but has yet to file any hate-related charges against the suspect, the department confirmed to Citizen of Ottawa.
Hate crimes in Canada have increased in recent years, with the onset of the pandemic triggering an unprecedented increase in racially and ethnically motivated crimes, Statistics Canada reported.
Canadian police reported 2,669 hate-motivated criminal incidents in 2020, the highest number since the federal agency began collecting comparable data in 2009.
In the first year of the pandemic, police-reported hate crimes increased by 37% over the previous year and between 2019 and 2020, the number of crimes motivated by hatred of a race or an ethnic origin increased by 80%, from 884 to 1,594.
Cyclist charged after allegedly assaulting Indigenous woman for not wearing a bra