Peaceful protest held outside Regina Canadian Tire
Published Friday, July 28, 2017 3:50PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 28, 2017 9:58PM EDT
Dozens of protesters played drums and performed a smudging ceremony outside a Regina Canadian Tire store Friday after an Indigenous man was accused of stealing, pushed against a shelf and kicked out of the store earlier this week.
About 40 protesters, many of them Indigenous, met at the edge of the property to perform a drum circle and pray.
They later marched across the parking lot to the front of the store, where they expressed outrage over an incident at the store on Wednesday, when 53-year-old Kamao Cappo was confronted by a Canadian Tire employee.
Cappo shared part of the altercation in a Facebook Live video that showed the store employee confront him, accuse him of stealing and push him against a shelf.
Cappo says he did nothing wrong. But the same employee proceeds to escort him out of the store while Cappo continues shooting video.
“Put it on Facebook. Put it on Facebook … won’t be the first time,” the employee says.
The video has been viewed more than 245,000 times since it went live on Wednesday.
Regina police have said they are investigating the incident as an assault. But so far, no arrest has been made, and the employee is still at work.
Outside the store, protesters chanted and carried signs reading “Skin colour is not reasonable suspicion” and “End racism.”
"It's not too much to ask for -- respect," Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron said at the rally.
Cappo: Canadian Tire has not directly apologized
Cappo attended the protest himself and told the crowd that all his wants is equal treatment.
“I want them to protect the Indigenous people that walk in their doors and treat them as good as they treat any other customer. And that should be our right,” he said.
Cappo says he hasn’t received a direct apology from Canadian Tire despite the company issuing a public apology in a press release.
"Par for the course for Canadian Tire. They aren't showing a lot of class," Cappo said.
Canadian Tire’s head office apologized Thursday for the “experience that occurred in our store.”
On Friday, the company a new statement, saying: “Treating our customers with respect and courtesy is a core value of our company. We wish to again state that we have taken this matter very seriously and we have already taken steps to raise awareness and re-educate store staff on our values.”
The company has not said whether it plans to reprimand the employee.
But a retail expert says Canadian Tire should do more to address the issue.
"Canadian Tire has get in front quickly and deal with at once, it unacceptable and they owe their customers more than this," said Bruce Winder of the Retail Advisors Network.
Racism in Regina
Many of those who attended the demonstration were also Indigenous, and they said problems with prejudice run deep in the community.
“There’s other businesses around the city where our people are mistreated. And it’s not right,” one woman said, holding back tears.
Another asked: “How can you love Regina when there’s so much hate in it?”
Organizers say they received permission to be in the Canadian Tire parking lot if they did not interfere with customers.
Police officers also attended the event.
The store was closed to shoppers on Thursday, due to a threat against the store that police say they were investigating as possibility related to the incident on Wednesday.
With files from CTV Regina and CTV’s Peter Akman