A cyclist was arrested after he was caught on video spitting on an Asian woman and calling her a racist slur. While at least one social media user was quick to lambaste racists with a “white power” mindset, details have emerged that don’t quite fit that narrative.
Justin Williams, a former University of Calgary basketball manager, was arrested after being caught on video spitting on Jessica Lau, a 27-year-old Asian woman, the NY Post reported. In addition to spitting on Lau in an unprovoked attack, Williams also hurled a racial slur at her as he rode past her on a bike at a local park.
The scene was captured on video by Lau’s boyfriend, Braeden Riehl, who was recording Lau longboarding at a Calgary park on a Saturday. In the clip, Justin Williams is clearly seen spitting on Jessica Lau. Immediately afterward, Braeden Riehl is heard reacting in total disbelief. “Whoa, what the f**k dude!?” he shouts.
Lau posted the footage on Instagram, hoping to track down the racist culprit. “Please share and help find this racist p**ck,” Lau wrote in the post accompanying the footage. “His spit landed on my face and legs, not to mention his racial slurs.”
The video quickly went viral across multiple social media platforms, where upset viewers decried racism and those who promote “white power.” Meaww even ran with a headline that said, “White cyclist calls Asian woman ‘stupid ch**k’ and spits on her at park, nabbed after video goes viral.” There’s just one problem with that narrative, however — but first, the video:
Justin Williams was later identified as the man responsible for the unprovoked attack when he was outed by his former employer. The Calgary school posted a condemnation of the attack on Twitter, saying Williams had been fired from the university earlier in the year due to his inappropriate social media commentary.
“We strongly condemn the actions in this video and join the community in extending our support to victims Jessica and her boyfriend,” the school wrote. “Justin Williams has not been an employee of UCalgary since February and his past social media comments were reported to (Calgary Police Service) by our staff.”
Williams was charged with assault in the spitting incident, and it was soon learned that Lau wasn’t his only victim. “During the incident, the offender, while unprovoked, allegedly spat on at least three separate individuals and used racial slurs,” Calgary police said in a statement, according to the Calgary Herald. “A witness confronted the offender, who then threatened the witness with a weapon.”
After the “white cyclist” was identified, Heavy uncovered some interesting information that destroyed the initial narrative of the suspect being a racist “white” man. As it turns out, Justin Williams is not “just white” and doesn’t like being identified as such. “His mom is white (English descent) and his dad is biracial (Trinidadian half Indian and half Black),” a former friend posted on Reddit after the incident. “He would always get mad when people confused what he was racially.”
“He makes it well known he is mixed and what he was mixed with,” the former friend continued, adding that Williams had changed his name from Riaz Ali years prior. “[H]e looks down on people who are mono-racial. He believes mixed raced people are the ‘superior race,'” the former friend furthered, alleging Williams hates “basically all non-mixed race people, mixed-race people who identify as one race, and women in Calgary.”
Further destroying the racist white man narrative, Williams allegedly referred to whites as “honkys,” and it seems at least one of Williams’ alleged victims was indeed a light-haired, white woman. On Twitter, Erica Wiebe, a Canadian Olympic wrestling champion, said she was also attacked by Williams:
“I was also spit on by a shirtless man wearing sunglasses and biking around at the same time and place yesterday,” Wiebe wrote on Twitter. “Unfortunate that this happened in our community and hopefully the individual is getting support and help they clearly need. Standing in solidarity with the other women involved.”
More than race, the evidence seems to suggest that Justin Williams’ real issue might be sex. The former friend posted screenshots of chats he allegedly had with Williams on Snapchat before he blocked him in early 2020. “In the chats, Williams made racist, homophobic, bigoted, and misogynistic comments,” Heavy reported.
“Women have no respect for men these days. At this point in the game if a woman doesn’t think I’m attractive I assume she is either a lesbian, racist or complete moron,” Williams allegedly wrote about women in Calgary.
The moral of the story? Not every racist incident is fueled by someone with a “white power” belief, and you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Justin Williams might appear “white” to some, but that’s apparently not how he identifies and his “whiteness” had nothing to do with the fact that he’s a racist. When we make everything a “white vs. others” situation, we only further a divide. Justin Williams is indeed a racist, but it’s not because he has “white DNA” and lighter skin. In fact, assuming he’s “white” because he’s a racist is actually racist.