Chai Sullivan (speaking) and Daruna Nikii (background, holding paper) were victims of a racially motivated incident at Cornerstone Taphouse on Wednesday, June 3. This photo was taken at the Friday Black Lives Matter event at Simms Park, where Nikii spoke about the incident. Photo by Mike Chouinard.

Chai Sullivan (speaking) and Daruna Nikii (background, holding paper) were victims of a racially motivated incident at Cornerstone Taphouse on Wednesday, June 3. This photo was taken at the Friday Black Lives Matter event at Simms Park, where Nikii spoke about the incident. Photo by Mike Chouinard.

Racist comments hurled at two women in Vancouver Island restaurant

Police called in, man arrested

Two young women who were in the midst of organizing a Black Lives Matter protest Friday at Simms Park in Courtenay were subject to a racial slur two nights before the event.

READ: Black Lives Matter events attract strong turnout in Comox Valley

Daruna Nikii and Chai Sullivan were dining at the Cornerstone Taphouse Wednesday, June 3 in downtown Courtenay when a man entered the premises. A message on Cornerstone’s Facebook page says the man was verbally abusive to both staff and customers.

“Someone yelled [N…..] at me,” Nikii says in a Facebook post. “Which shows that racism is still around and it’s really sad. I have no words to express how disgusted I was to hear this man call me that for no reason at all, especially with all of what’s happening in the world. People at the restaurant barely did anything until the cops showed up.”

A restaurant patron, whom the women did not know, allegedly approached the man and tried to converse with him, but the abusive man left the premises.

Cornerstone staff called the Comox Valley RCMP shortly before 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“A 37-year old man was arrested by police for mischief, causing a disturbance, and breach of probation,” Const. Monika Terragni said in a statement.

Tim Monier, a friend of the two women, came to the taphouse around the time police arrived. From what Monier understands, before the man left the building, he said to Nikii, ‘You need to be taught a lesson.’

“It was just insanity,” Monier said. “The reaction from the people in the restaurant would have been more upsetting almost than the person who actually called her the n word himself.”

Sullivan said the man became inebriated at the taphouse, and was attacking waitresses and patrons with abusive language.

“He went to the door, yelled a bunch of things, and ended by looking at Daruna and calling her the n word. Then another black man (who she didn’t know) who was there followed him outside and went to speak to him…The guy stumbled over. No one hit this guy…Daruna and I also ran after him…Daruna poured a glass of water on him, and said, ‘Don’t call me that.’

“I have to say, it was pretty calm considering the situation. No one was yelling…This guy actually wasn’t fighting back at this point, he was listening.”

Sullivan said four people at the taphouse reacted poorly.

“People were quick to defend him calling people fat, and no one said anything at all when he started using racial slurs.”

She said a woman came outside and started filming the scene on her phone. When Sullivan came back inside, she said the woman and a man said the girls and the man had assaulted the unruly patron.

“This, to me, is what really was the most upsetting about the situation, was the reaction,” Sullivan said. “They told us not to let swear words hurt our feelings.”

She said two other patrons joined in, and said the girls and the black man escalated the situation.

While Sullivan was speaking with police, she said the woman had followed them outside.

“Unprovoked, she said, ‘Stop pretending we’re in the States. You’re safe here. Don’t be afraid of the cops. And also saying, Canada does not have systemic problems’.”

Cornerstone says it is devastated by the racial attack.

Cornerstone Taphouse took to social media to address a racist incident at the establishment. 

“We wish our customer had not been racially targeted because of the colour of her skin,” the post says. “We empathize with the realities that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) and black people face this fear everyday, and we are sad our establishment became a place for this racism to express itself and cause harm to the young black woman. Know that we will never accept racism on our premises. We know that Black Lives Matter. We will continue to ensure to the best of our ability that Cornerstone is a safe space, and we will always stand with our black customers in their fight for equality. We condemn all forms of violence, and continue to strive for a world where all people are equal and safe, no matter if they are enjoying the ambience of our restaurant or simply out in public living their lives.”

In an email to The Record, the restaurant manager explained that the customer in question was in the process of being removed from the restaurant for unrelated matter, when he approached Niiki and Sullivan and verbally accosted them.

Cornerstone has permanently banned the man from its premises at 5th and Cliffe.



reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Comox Valleyracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Branden Macnaughton, Lane Ogden, Kourtney Holberton, and Kally Campbell skate along Sparwood’s new skating trail. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)
Lace up those skates: District of Sparwood opens public skating trail

The 400 metre long loop is located next to the Recreation and Leisure Centre

Mike Delich kneels at the start of the Olympic Downhill in 2006. (Photo Contributed)
Fernie local Mike Delich receives CSA’s Dee Read Memorial Award

The award recognizes Delich’s contributions to snowsports as a FIS Technical Delegate

The Cranbrook Climate Hub will be hosting a webinar this coming Friday (January 29) that focuses on sustainable jobs. (Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay)
Cranbrook Climate Hub to host webinar on sustainable jobs

Bruce Wilson, former General Manager for Shell, will speak on ‘looking beyond Keysone XL’

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin makes preparations at Toronto’s mass vaccination clinic, Jan. 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
3 deaths, 234 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

One death connected to outbreak at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital, where 20 patients and 28 staff have tested positive

Zaudanawng “Jay-Dan” Maran in his Creston home. Hanging on the wall behind him is a logo of Kachin’s Manaw festival. Photo: Aaron Hemens
From Myanmar to Creston: The story of a refugee

In October 2007, Zaudanawng “Jay-Dan” Maran and his friends encountered a woman being sexually assaulted by two Myanmar soldiers.

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

The shirts sell for $45, with 30 per cent of proceeds from each sale going to Battered Women’s Support Services in Vancouver. (Madame Premier/Sarah Elder-Chamanara)
Canadian company launches ‘hysterical’ T-Shirt to combat health officials’ use of word

A partnership with Tamara Taggart will see women broadcast the word on a T-shirt or tote bag

Energy consultant Michèle Deluca and city building inspector Sam Ellison are researching how to account for embodied carbon when calculating a new building’s carbon footprint. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Nelson researches climate impact of embodied carbon in new buildings

Embodied carbon is the footprint of the manufacture and transport of building materials

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

ICBC has seen savings on crash and injury claims in the COVID-19 pandemic, with traffic on B.C. roads reduced. (Penticton Western News)
ICBC opens online calculator for rate savings starting in May

Bypassing courts expected to save 20% on average

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
16% boom predicted for B.C. real estate sales in 2021: experts

Along with sales, the average price of homes is also predicted to rise, by nearly 8 percent

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

Brad Windsor has been an advocate for years to get sidewalks installed along Milburn Drive in Colwood, but to no avail. He wants city council to commit to making Milburn a priority lane for sidewalk construction in the future. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Dramatic crash caught on B.C. home security camera

Angry residents say video highlights need for sidewalks in B.C. residential neighbourhood

An independent review is underway at the Royal BC Museum after employees called out systemic, individual racism at the institution. (Twitter/RBCM)
Royal BC Museum faces allegations of systemic racism, toxic work environment

Formal investigation, survey and training launched at museum

Most Read