West Kelowna  

Kelowna resident targeted in hate crime at work

Targeted in Nazi hate crime

Madison Erhardt

UPDATE: 3 p.m.

West Kelowna RCMP say they are investigating after a swastika was spray-painted in a local parking lot.

On July 21, 2021 just after 5:30 p.m., Kelowna RCMP responded to a complaint of a swastika symbol which had been spray painted in a parking lot of a mall in 500-block of Highway 97 in West Kelowna.

“The swastika was put directly behind the vehicle of a Jewish man, who was understandably very upset when he saw it,” says Sgt. Joel Glen of the West Kelowna RCMP.

“Racism of any kind has no place in our community and will not tolerated. We are conducting a fulsome investigation into this incident, and appeal to anyone who witnessed it to come forward.”

The exact time of this incident is not currently known, but is believed to have happened during the morning of July 21.

The investigation is ongoing, and West Kelowna RCMP are asking anyone who has dashcam footage, or was in the area and saw suspicious activity that day to contact the West Kelowna RCMP at (250) 768-2800.

ORIGINAL:11:25 p.m.

A Kelowna resident says he was the target of a hate crime in West Kelowna on Wednesday.

Michael, who wishes to remain anonymous says he went into work at Proactive Physiotherapy in West Kelowna Wednesday morning. When he came back out to his car at the end of the day he found a spray-painted swastika directly beside his car.

“Someone has to have seen me at work wearing my Yarmulka because I usually don't wear it in public just in terms of comfort and I like wearing different sort of hats. I don’t feel so safe," he said.

“Between 9:30 a.m. when I pulled in yesterday and 11 a.m. when my colleague arrived after the fact she told me that at 11 a.m. It was already there. It was behind my car, it was not there when I pulled in, yet at the end of the day it was there.”

Michael, an Osteopathic Practitioner, believes it could be one of his clients.

“Mind you then why would they want to continue being treated by me. However, in proximity to the business, someone needs to have known it was me in terms of being openly Jewish.”

Michael was born in Montreal, his parents were both holocaust survivors.

He says this isn’t the first time he has been a target. He says he took martial arts lessons in high school after he was attacked a number of times as a child for being Jewish.

“Having to flout a symbol of hate like that especially directed at one other person. Sometimes it is easier just staring hate straight in the eye. Having it directed right in the face, but this is obviously a cowardly act."

Michael says RCMP Have been made aware of the hate crime.

“They told me there is not much that can be done and that the only cameras here are the ones facing the bank.”

Castanet has requested more information from RCMP.

“I hope the perpetrators are found and that in terms of law and order that this is investigated and taken care of and not just blown off and not just nonchalantly ignored."

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