Two women have been arrested and charged with public incitement of hatred, after police say a group of people yelled racial slurs and attacked a Black man at a skate park in Brandon, Man., on Thursday, Sept. 3.
Around 7:40 p.m., Brandon police were called to a skate park in the 900 block of Princess Avenue for a report of a fight.
Witnesses told police that a group of five people, including one man and four women, started a fight with the man by yelling racial slurs at him.
Officers said a fight then broke out. Brandon police said video footage from witnesses filming the fight on their phones was obtained by investigators and shows the group punching and kicking the man.
Police said the man tried to defend himself by holding down one of the suspects when a woman allegedly stabbed him five times in the side of his abdomen.
The fight ended and the man walked away, bleeding from his side. Police note the suspect with the knife slashed the tires on the victim’s car before the stabbing.
Brown said while stabbings are common, "racially-motivated" crimes like this are not.
"The comments made – and I'm not going to repeat them, they don't warrant being repeated – are absolutely reprehensible," said Staff Sgt Bill Brown with the Brandon Police Service. "I'm disgusted by it – as most people would be, all people I would hope – and also by the violence involved here."
Before police got to the scene, a citizen took the man to the Brandon Regional Health Centre where emergency surgery was performed. Brown said the man has since woken up and is expected to make a full recovery.
Brown said at this time, it is not clear what started the altercation.
Police investigated and found a woman, who matched the description of one of the suspects, in the 800 block of Rosser Avenue. Officers said the woman had blood on her clothes and a knife with blood on it in her pocket. Police arrested her, as well as a second female suspect who was found nearby.
Police said the two suspects who were arrested are related and scheduled to appear in court on Friday, Sept. 4.
A 23-year-old woman from Brandon has been charged with several offences, including aggravated assault with a weapon and public incitement of hatred.
A 20-year-old woman from Sioux Valley is also facing a slew of charges, including assault and public incitement of hatred.
None of the charges have been tested in court. Brown said it is possible the charges could be upgraded in the future.
He said, as far as he knows, this is the first time the Brandon Police have laid charges for public incitement of hatred.
"I hope we never have to use it again, but in this circumstance, this charge was warranted," he said.
Police continue to investigate and search for the other three suspects. Brown said police are fairly confident they know the identity of two suspects and anticipate issuing arrest warrants Friday afternoon.