10/29/2014 09:49 EDT | Updated 12/29/2014 05:59 EST

Edmonton City Centre Mall Apologizes For Kicking Out Social Worker

EDMONTON - An Edmonton mall is apologizing for kicking a homeless centre worker out of its food court.

Gary Moostoos, a Cree elder who works at Boyle Community Services, was eating soup at City Centre Mall on Monday night when two security guards made him leave and banned him for six months.

Moostoos videotaped the incident, and security guards told him he was observed doing suspicious activity, then later said he had a history of being confrontational and associating with people who have been banned from the mall.

Oxford Properties Group, which owns City Centre Mall, said in a statement Wednesday that mistakes were made and it wants to meet with Moostoos so officials can apologize in person.

A company spokesman also says they have accepted Mayor Don Iveson's offer of materials to train workers on cultural sensitivity.

Moostoos says he will sit down with the mall's owners when he is ready.

“They’re sorry they got caught,” Moostoos said in his office about three blocks away from City Centre Mall.

“They had left a message saying that they wanted to meet on Thursday. Well, my head is on overdrive right now, and I need to just have time to myself.”

Oxford said in its statement: “We have reviewed the incident, including watching the video that Gary Moostoos shared with media plus our own security video, and have spoken with the security agents involved.

"It is clear mistakes were made and we should have acted differently. We have reached out to him numerous times and we are hoping that he will accept our invitation to meet so we can discuss it with him face to face and apologize to him in person.”

Iveson said he was dismayed to hear what happened to Moostoos.

“I’m not happy to hear about any citizen in our city experiencing discrimination based on who they may associate with, or what they may look like,” Iveson told reporters.

“That’s disappointing and I think the mall understands it, that they have room for improvement here as well so I think this is a learning opportunity for everybody.”



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