Rights commission won't help victim of racist beating - says not "a question of public interest"

The Quebec Human Rights Commission has ruled that a 62-year-old black disabled Pointe-St-Charles man was the victim of a racially-motivated beating in 2013 and should be awarded $30,000 but it won't help him fight to get the compensation from his attacker, saying the case does not raise "a question of public interest."

Harrold Acquah was delivering newpapers in Pointe-St-Charles in June 2013 when he was pushed, punched, kicked and called the "N" word by a total stranger who was eventually charged with assault causing bodily harm and obstruction of justice and sentenced to community service and two years probation.

Acquah said he changed his paper route at the time to avoid running into his attacker. He said he still experiences headaches, fatigue, anxiety and mobility issues since the attack and is fearful of going out at night in his neighbourhood. Acquah was unable to continue working in January and is now on disability.

Harrold Acquah, 62, was beaten & called the N word by a total stranger who was eventually sentenced to community service. Human Rights Commission won't help him fight for $30k compensation (that it recommended) saying "case doesn't raise a question of public interest." #CJAD pic.twitter.com/yenZfNkXGr

— Shuyee Lee (@sleeCJAD) June 1, 2018

Acquah said he doesn't understand why the commission won't go any further with his case. The commisson said in its ruling that he would have to go it alone.

"I was surprised - what is public interest? To beat some rich man in Westmount and then it's going to be public interest?  Because I don't make enough money?  I don't pay enough taxes? So it doesn't concern the public?" said Acquah at a news conference.

Harrold Acquah doesn't understand why Que Human Rights Commission on one hand recognizes he was a victim of a racist attack & recommends $30K compensation, but on the other hand, says "case doesn't raise a question of public interest" and so won't help him fight for comp. #CJAD pic.twitter.com/E6xAE39RnO

— Shuyee Lee (@sleeCJAD) June 1, 2018

The Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR) has been helping Acquah with his case.

"One of the most troubling aspects is that the crime was treated as a crime but not as a hate crime," said executive director Fo Niemi.

"If this is the way that they treated Mr. Acquah's case, what happens to all the cases involving Islamophobic violence?"

Fo Niemi of CRARR which helped in Harrold Acquah's case says ruling by Que Human Rights Commission "raises disturbing questions about access to justice for victims of racism and hate crimes who are unilingual English-speaking, poor, disabled, older." #CJAD pic.twitter.com/VxnhY2Go9A

— Shuyee Lee (@sleeCJAD) June 1, 2018

Niemi said this case raises disturbing questions about how the commission treats such cases.

"Unilingual Anglophones already have great problems accessing the justice system. When you're poor, when you have a disability, that's worse," said Niemi.

CRARR is launching a GoFundMe campaign to help Acquah proceed to the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal to seek compensation from his attacker.

Que Human Rights Commission on 1 hand recognizes Harrold Acquah was victim of racist attack & recommends $30K compensation but on other hand, says "case doesn't raise a question of public interest" & so won't help him fight for comp.Acquah says it sends a shameful message. #CJAD pic.twitter.com/ptOuEJHpzC

— Shuyee Lee (@sleeCJAD) June 1, 2018