A passenger on a Winnipeg Transit bus captures a hate crime on video with his cell phone.
Local television stations get wind of what he's got and turn the video into a news story.
Their story is all about how tough it is being Ralph Kramden in Winnipeg. All the racism in the video is deliberately excised.
Well, you don't need to imagine. That's exactly what happened, with CBC and Global News this Friday. These "professional" journalists decided to whitewash the story for general consumption. And they would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for citizen journalist Marty Gold, of The Great Canadian Talk Show, who decided to watch the video (posted on Youtube) for himself and was floored by what he saw. He started to spread the word.
The video depicts the disruption caused on a Corydon bus in downtown Winnipeg in the middle of a June afternoon by two foul-mouthed men who had been harassing a girl to the point she fled to escape their attention.
The videographer is sitting at the very back of the bus on the right hand side. Directly in front of him is a drunk man with a missing front tooth, a 3-foot ponytail and a backwards Winnipeg Jets cap on his head. Across from Ponytail was his companion who has what looks like an ID card on a chain around his neck.
The posted video starts with ID leaning over to Ponytail and suggesting : "You should say I fucking run this show." Read on, but there is a strong language warning.
Ponytail gleefully throws his hands in the air and shouts: "Aboriginals! Aboriginals---they run this fucking world and this fucking town (of mine?). I don't care about these white people."
That sets the tone of the whole 8-and-a-half minute video. It's downhill from there.
The bus driver immediately comes to the back and tells the man, "Okay, off the bus now, off the bus."
Bus Driver: "Because I said."
BD: "You want the cops here?"
BD: "Then get off. They're on their way. Let's go."
Ponytail: "You're going to kick us off?"
Ponytail: "No. Why?"
BD: "You have to get off."
BD: "I'm calling the cops."
A bus passenger, who appears to be native himself, walks back to Ponytail. He speaks softly.
Passenger: "You're wasting my time. I gotta get somewhere."
Other passenger in background: "We all gotta get somewhere."
Ponytail: "Fuck man, we're aboriginals, man."
A tall man with a white goatee has had enough. He starts yelling "Off the bus. Off the bus. Off the bus."
Passenger: "The guy told you to go. Let's go." He tries to guide Ponytail but Ponytail shrugs him off.
The situation escalates as Goatee gets into a face-to-face shouting match with ID and Ponytail.
Ponytail: "Shut up."
Goatee: "GET OFF THE BUS!"
Ponytail: "Shut up."
Goatee: " GET OFF THE BUS!"
Ponytail: "Hey you know what?"
Goatee: "YOU GET OFF THE BUS!"
Ponytail: "No I think..."
Goatee: "YOU GET OFF THE BUS."
ID: "Fuck you, bastard."
Goatee: "Fuck, you act like a fucking asshole."
ID says something threatening to the man with the goatee.
Goatee: "You gonna hit me?"
ID: "Well, you want to?"
Goatee: " I'll defend myself and I'm going to put you in hospital for a month."
ID: "Yeah right.(unintellibible)"
Goatee: " Fuck off. fuck off."
Ponytail: "You want us to hit you, you white man. fuck you I don't give a fuck man."
The bus driver, trying to defuse the situation, whistles at the man with the goatee. "Hey, sir."
Goatee: "Okay okay." And he returns to his seat at the front of the bus.
Ponytail: "Get off the bus. fucking asshole. you know we did nothing wrong."
Goatee: "You woke up this morning."
Ponytail: "Yeah well what the fuck's wrong with you, you fucking white man? fuck, you prick."
ID: " (unintelligible) just wait until...(unintelligible) you fucking piece of fucking (unintelligible) you old bastard."
ID:" Let's get off right now then, c'mon. wanna go?"
ID: (to Ponytail): "Fuck that, I don't even know you. I'll fucking take this motherfucker."
The Indian we're calling ID then walks to the front of the bus to confront the man with the goatee. He stands over him and they argue. ID lunges at the other man twice as if to punch him. The man stands up and ID swings at him with his left hand, striking him lightly on his right arm. But striking him. That's assault in anyone's books.
Just watching the video leaves you with a bitter taste. Imagine having actually been there. Stuck on a bus for 8 minutes or more with these drunks, swearing and threatening everyone.
But what you see is unmistakeable. Crime, caught on tape. Causing a distrubance, uttering threats, assault. Supported by racial slurs. There's no doubt what we're seeing. A hate crime.
The question is will the police do anything about it? Will they track down the men in the video and charge them with a hate crime?
Or will they turn a blind eye, just as CBC and Global did, and pretend that nothing unusual happened.
Actually, nothing unusual did happen. That's because this is a common occurrence on Winnipeg transit buses and in downtown Winnipeg. There's nothing unusual about it.
It makes you wonder why the police never arrived to stop the disturbance.
Where are all those downtown beat cops we've been told about? Or the cadets you see riding up and down Graham in their shiny new CADET cars? Or the bicycle cops? Or the red-shirt patrols? Or the yellow-shirt patrols?
Why didn't anybody in authority show up within the 8 minutes the passengers on the Corydon bus were subjected to this flurry of obscenity by beligerent and racist drunks?
Is it because confrontations like this are such low priority that nobody can be bothered to attend?
Welcome to Winnipeg.
Oh, and Air Canada is still owed an apology.