Alleged racial slur led to attack on soccer dad: court

An Edmonton court heard that heated words involving stature, religion and sexual orientation led to an Edmonton soccer dad being swarmed by players on an opposing team.

EDMONTON — An Edmonton court heard that heated words involving stature, religion and sexual orientation led to an Edmonton soccer dad being swarmed by players on an opposing team.

Manpreet Grewal, 19, is charged with aggravated assault after Dean Smith was kicked by several youths after a rowdy soccer match on June 5, 2008.

Smith, 44, testified Tuesday he got into a verbal confrontation with several players on the Mill Woods Meadows under-18 squad after they called him “short” and a “white faggot.”

Smith, whose son played for the opposing team, said he yelled expletives at Grewal and threatened to rip his head covering off his head if he didn’t shut up.

Smith suffered a broken nasal passage and five fractures on the right side of his face, which required the insertion of metal plates and plastic surgery, and had his jaw wired shut for two months.

Under cross-examination, Smith was accused of knowing that Grewal’s patka — a type of smaller turban used by Sikhs in sporting events — was a religious headdress.

“I am going to suggest your comment was motivated by anger and racial prejudice,” said defence lawyer Chris Millsap, also suggesting Smith became “enraged.”

Smith initially disagreed that he knew a turban was a religious head covering, then conceded he “possibly” knew, but maintained it was not racially motivated.

“It was motivated by losing my patience,” said Smith.

Smith testified he ran away after Grewal charged at him, but he tripped and was “surrounded” by a group of 10 to 12 youths who began kicking him.

Although Grewal did not testify, he admitted in a statement to police that he had punched Smith, but said he then got scared and ran away and denied kicking him.

Four youths were also charged in the swarming attack, however the charges were later withdrawn.

A decision in the case is slated for Nov. 27.