Local News

Downtown Eastside advocate receives absolute discharge for Chinatown assault

A self-described matriarch of the CRAB Park encampment has been handed an absolute discharge for a 2022 assault in Chinatown.

The assault was initially reported as a hate crime by the Vancouver police department.

Muskikiway Lynn Thompson, 56, pleaded guilty to one count of assault on April 19 and was sentenced on Friday in Downtown Community Court.

“There was no hate crime,” Thompson told Global News outside court.

Thompson said the Aug. 5, 2022, incident involved a parking dispute with a family of tourists outside the London Pub on Main at East Georgia Streets.

The visitors, Thompson claimed, had parked in the crosswalk blocking Main Street and wouldn’t move despite several requests.

“I couldn’t get out of my parking spot because they had boxed me in,” Thompson said.

Court heard Thompson then began arguing with the Asian driver.

When a security guard crossed the street to assist, Crown counsel said Thompson kicked and spat on him.

The victim, who asked not to be identified by name, told Global News staff at Unity One Security did what they could to de-escalate the situation.

“Being mixed race myself, we do not stand silent when racism is in play,” the security guard said in an emailed statement. “That is all my staff tried to do, lend a helpless family who was being scrutinized for being Asian, some community love.”

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The VPD investigated the file as a hate crime, and said a woman was starting fights near Main and Georgia, kicking and spitting on people and yelling racial slurs toward an Asian person.

“It’s important to note that these are only incidents where we have found evidence to support the Criminal Code threshold for a hate crime,” Sgt. Steve Addison said in 2022.

Thompson, whose partner is Asian, denied it was a hate crime. “There (were) no racial slurs. What I was saying is ‘Americans’ because they were down from Washington state.”

The court heard Thompson, who is Indigenous and identifies as Two-Spirit, has completed 15 hours of community work service since the assault.

Thompson addressed the court before sentencing, alleging mistreatment in the holding cell after the arrest, and being left to walk home from the Downtown Eastside to Burnaby without shoes at 2 a.m.

Thompson also told the court it wasn’t a hate crime. “I did say American but I didn’t say anything about a race.”

Vancouver Provincial Court Judge Patricia Stark accepted a joint sentencing submission from Crown and defence, finding an absolute discharge was appropriate and “not contrary to the public interest.”

Stark said many factors of the Gladue report were present including generational harm, addiction issues, trauma, neglect and mistreatment – noting Thompson has overcome all of them to become a law-abiding member of the community quite successfully.

The judge acknowledged Thompson’s guilty plea, public speaking and outreach work – but said the nature of the assault was an aggravating factor.

Spitting, Stark noted, is “humiliating, dangerous…and demoralizing…”

“I get it,” Thompson said outside court. “But I didn’t spit at him, I just spat like, get away from me because he was hauling me out and dragging me across the road.”

Thompson mimicked spitting on the street.

An absolute discharge means Thompson will receive no fine or sentence, and no criminal record.

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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