Lethbridge Mayor apologizes to racist tirade victims

By Lara Fominoff @LaraFominoff on Twitter
May 15, 2018 - 3:11pm Updated: May 15, 2018 - 5:14pm

LETHBRIDGE - "I met with them last Friday afternoon, and I wanted to express an apology that the event happened in the City of Lethbridge."

The four men who were the subject of Kelly Pocha's vitriolic tirade April 21 at a Denny's restaurant, received an unreserved public apology from Mayor Chris Spearman at Monday's council meeting.

Spearman said he wanted to make the men feel confident that most people in the city are not like what they experienced. He tells LNN the men said they loved living in Lethbridge, and that it's a wonderful city.

He also mentioned near the end of Monday's meeting, that three out of four of the men are local business owners.

"They employ people here in the city. So, people who came here 12 and 13 years ago from a war-torn country, Afghanistan to be specific [and Tajikistan], have come here and made new lives for themselves and their families. And they're successful."

Spearman says the fourth man has been in Canada four years and is trying to duplicate what the other three have done.

Monir Omerzai's video showing Pocha calling them to "go back to your f***ing country," has been viewed more than two million times.

Just after the video was released, Omerzai told media that he'd never experienced that kind of hatred or those kinds of comments from anyone in Canada before.

For her part, Pocha admitted she had been drinking that night, and said the four men were "staring at her, talking in their own language."

She told LNN in an exclusive interview she believed the men were making fun of her.

Lethbridge Police Chief Rob Davis hailed a bystander who took a second video of the encounter, and could be heard defending the men, saying more people need to stand up to those who display that kind of behaviour.

He added that LPS is investigating the matter, speaking with witnesses and the men involved, and they may also contact Pocha.

It's not clear if any charges will be laid.

The same day the video went viral, Pocha was fired from her 11-year administrative job at a Cranbrook Dodge dealership. 

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