A national retailer has apologized in a written statement after a racially-charged altercation at one of its Regina locations went viral Wednesday.
Thousands have watched the videos of an Indigenous man getting thrown out of a Canadian Tire after being accused of shoplifting.
Kamao Cappo went to Canadian Tire to purchase a chainsaw. After picking one out, he realized he had the wrong one. He then gave the saw, along with the extra chain and oil, to an employee to take up to customer service.
Before heading to the back to check out a different saw, Cappo said he put the chain and oil in the open box to help her manage the load. At that point, a male employee approached him, accused him of stealing and ordered him to leave the store.
Instead of leaving, Cappo recorded the exchange on his cellphone and posted two videos on Facebook.
The videos show Cappo, after being told to leave the store, being shoved up against a shelf by an employee, then pushed towards the exit, sliding on his feet.
“We sincerely apologize for the experience that occurred in our store and we are actively reviewing all of the facts surrounding this matter,” said Canadian Tire in a written statement, adding they are “communicating with Mr. Cappo directly” in hopes of resolving the issue.
However, Cappo said that’s not the whole story.
Cappo explained a woman claiming to work for Canadian Tire asked for his phone number via Facebook, but no further contact was made. He said he’s disappointed with their statement.
“This just shows me how Canadian Tire operates — they’re giving out misleading information,” he said.
In the meantime, Cappo explained all he wants is for the store to get race relations training, so what happened to him doesn’t happen to other Indigenous people.
Cappo added that he decided to post on social media about the altercation because he wants to motivate other Indigenous people to speak up about the racial profiling he said goes on at local stores.
Now two days later, Cappo said he has a sore back and knees — the result of not fighting back.
“If I did defend myself, I’m sure I would be in jail right now with an assault charge and this man would completely get away with his behaviour,” he said.
Cappo said he’s been in contact with Regina police, who told him they are treating the incident as an assault and continue to investigate.
980 CJME reached out to the store directly involved in the incident, but they declined to comment.
Heavy police presence surrounded the Canadian Tire in east Regina Thursday. It closed for the day due to a phone call involving gun threats. Police said they are investigating whether the threat was linked to the altercation.