Regina police are investigating reports that two men had coffee thrown at them and the possibility the attacks were racially motivated.
The bizarre attacks happened Tuesday in a parking lot near a Walmart and Winners store.
Falgun Vaviya, a university student from India who works at the Walmart, said he decided to sit outside on a bench that evening because of the warm weather.
The 19-year-old said he was looking down at his cellphone when a group of young men approached him just before 9 p.m. and one threw coffee in his face.
“They were laughing and insulting me.”
Such people don’t represent the community
The coffee wasn’t hot, Vaviya said, but he was still shocked.
Vaviya doesn’t remember what they said, but noticed they were shooting a video. He immediately went inside the store and told a manager.
Police said they’re aware of a video circulating online and that the person throwing the coffee in the video appears to be white.
The second victim hit with coffee is a 54-year-old black man.
Police spokesman Les Parker said investigators believe the two cases are connected and aren’t ruling out racism as a factor.
But he said officers don’t yet have a motive and are asking other possible victims to come forward.
Regina Mayor Michael Fougere says he’s seen the video and doesn’t believe it represents the city.
“We are, I believe, a very open and a friendly city. I know we are,” Fougere said.
Neither of the two men were injured, but Parker said such attacks are upsetting and can affect a person’s sense of safety.
Vaviya, who is studying biology at the University of Regina, said he believes the people may have been playing a prank or were motivated by the colour of his skin.
“There any many immigrants coming like me … they might be thinking that they should not come.”
He said he wants to see the culprits held accountable and won’t feel safe leaving his home until that happens.
The community has been supportive, he added, and strangers have been reaching out to apologize for what happened.
“I’m pretty positive about the Canadians,” Vaviya said.
“Such people don’t represent the community.”