LETHBRIDGE - What started out as a hot-headed social media dispute between a man from the Blood Tribe and what may be described as an online troll on Facebook, soon took a dark and racist turn that targeted the First Nation man's young daughter, other children and his personal business.
Jayson Fox tells Lethbridge News Now on Sunday, April 8, a friend of his was receiving disturbing messages from someone online identified only as "Jack Coler."
Fox says while trying to defend that friend, he and Coler began private messaging or "PM-ing" one another. He acknowledges he was being somewhat provocative.
"She [Fox's friend] said that she'd been getting you know, some really crazy stuff from this guy, and he was really not being nice to the Native American Student Association (NAISA) at the University of Lethbridge and so I looked him up and I messaged him... and I so I said a couple of simple words and then he went on a tirade."
According to the University of Lethbridge's First Nations Transition Program Learning Facilitator (FNTP) Nadine Eagle Child, the same "Jack Coler" had been sending racist messages to their Facebook page over the last year.
"I looked up his profile and the first picture I saw was a picture of a jeep with machine guns on it with a caption saying, 'open season on minorities,' so I told my supervisor, and thought we'd better not respond to his messages."
Fox sent LNN the thread of messages between him and "Jack Coler," in which both sides called one another a variety of vulgar names.
But soon, Fox began receiving memes that referred to slain Saskatchewan man Colton Bouchie as "A Lifeless Pile of Shit," and a meme with children and the caption "The Future Face of Welfare."
Then, the online person took a screen shot of a picture of Fox and his very young daughter on a boat while on vacation in Montana. The caption read "Daddy and his future MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman)."
Fox says he was incensed and became worried that someone would target his young child.
"It was a kick to the chest, is what it was. Geez, I was in shock and then I was you know, disbelief. And then anger. You know, I tried to coach myself into looking past people's actions, and trying to understand where these actions come from. I didn't want to go into fear mode, or hate mode."
"Jack Coler" then took screenshots of Fox's business vehicle and wrote "say goodbye to those nicely painted truck [sic] and trailer," and proceeded to tell him to "get rid of his people."
Fox went to Blood Tribe Police, to let them know what had happened. He says he spoke with an officer, who told him it might be difficult to find the person responsible.
"He sort of eased my concerns...it was a reassuring conversation, but there was still nothing on paper. And so, I didn't feel completely heard when I left."
Lethbridge News Now spoke with Blood Tribe Acting Insp. Farica Syrette, who confirmed that Fox visited the detachment, but did not file a complaint. She says police take matters like the ones described, seriously.
"We have been in touch with Mr. Fox and let him know the options he has for reporting. Any investigation we are responsible for is taken very seriously.
"We don't condone racism, and this is an occurrence that is unfortunately a representation of how racially charged our country is right now. This behaviour is unacceptable. But people have to keep in mind that social media has created a platform for everybody, with the option to remain anonymous."
Acting Insp. Syrette says if someone feels unsafe because of something posted on social media, they should report it to the site, and make a complaint to police.
LNN also reached out to Alberta RCMP "K" Division Cpl. Curtis Peters, who told us they are also looking into the matter; however, no formal complaint has been made to local RCMP either.
Fox claims he did in fact visit his local RCMP detachment, but no one would "put it on paper as a complaint," either.
Fox then posted the disturbing meme on his FB page and it has since been shared more than 1,200 times.
He's not confident that anything can be done to find the person responsible, adding he's encountered racism many times before- although not with that degree of hostility.
"I've lived in southern Alberta for the majority of my life. It's not a new thing. It's really nothing new.
"I really have nothing to say to this guy. I don't know why he thinks like this, and I really don't want to fix him. You know, 'cause there's too much to fix."
The "Jack Coler" profile appears to have been deleted, and while Fox provided LNN with another potential name, there is no way to confirm at this point who created the memes or who was behind the conversation.
He does say he's been overwhelmed with the positive responses he has received for his post.
"It brings things to light, and maybe it's something we need to talk about more as a community."
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