Red Deer resident Katrina Lee says she has been on the receiving end of racist actions. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Woman awaits response from RCMP about racism

We, as Red Deer, need to say something”

A Red Deer woman wants to know how local RCMP would respond if a black man died in a situation similar to what happened a week ago in Minneapolis.

George Floyd, who was in handcuffs at the time, died May 25 after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, ignored bystander shouts to get off Floyd and Floyd’s cries that he couldn’t breathe.

“As a black Canadian woman, how would this be dealt with if it happened in Red Deer?” asked Katrina Lee, who said she called Red Deer RCMP and is still waiting for an answer.

Floyd’s arrest was caught on video. Chauvin and the three other officers at the scene were fired, and Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Lee, who was born and raised in Red Deer, said racism is a problem in the city, and said she has been on the receiving end of racist actions.

“This is something we’ve been dealing with for a long time. We, as Red Deer, need to say something.

“I would like the police to take a stand. I think we should do that in Canada, because I don’t think it matters where you’re from. Police are all in the same boat right now.”

On Monday, more than 100 central Albertans peacefully marched in downtown Red Deer against racism.


Solidarity together: Central Albertans protest in Red Deer against racism

Political leaders take aim at racism in Canada as protests rage in U.S.

In a statement released on Monday, Mayor Tara Veer responded to the peaceful protest on behalf of city council.

“We strive for Red Deer to be a welcoming community where everyone can enjoy a high quality of life, but unfortunately, we know that racism does exist in our community, as it does in so many others,” Veer said.

“It has been heartbreaking to bear witness to recent events, and as always, I am proud of our community for coming together to stand in solidarity against racism and to affirm the value of all persons.”

Lee said she liked what Veer had to say, but a lot of people want to know what local police will do to end racism, she said.

“It’s still not saying to us that police brutality is going to be dealt with, or police racism. At the end of the day, this whole thing is based on what the police did.”

— With files from The Associated Press

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