An Alberta judge has ruled that an Indigenous woman who said "I hate white people" before punching a white woman did not commit a hate crime.
Provincial court Judge Harry Van Harten said in the ruling that he was "not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt" that Tamara Crowchief hit Lydia White because of a racial bias.
Last November, White was standing outside a pub in southwest Calgary with a friend when an acquaintance of Crowchief approached them and asked for a cigarette.
"I don’t understand why this woman did this."
White's friend agreed and started a conversation. Suddenly, Crowchief came up to White, yelled "I hate white people" and punched her in the mouth, according to the court ruling, knocking out one of her front teeth.
When she was arrested, Crowchief told police that “the white man was out to get her.”
The Crown argued that the crime was racially motivated and sought a sentence of 12 to 15 months. It cited several other cases that supported its position.
The defence said that Crowchief "was complaining about her socio-economic situation." That assertion was "mere speculation," argued the Crown, and the judge agreed.
Victim still 'gets angry'
However, Van Harten said, "But there is no evidence either way about what the offender meant or whether ... she holds or promotes an ideology which would explain why this assault was aimed at this victim."
White said she "still gets angry" when she thinks about the incident, according to the Calgary Herald.
"I don’t understand why this woman did this. I never did anything to her. Never even spoke to her," she said.
Crowchief, who already spent time in custody before the trial, has been placed on probation for 12 months.