Outside of police headquarters on Saturday, dozens of people rallied to show their support for 14-year-old Pazo, a black student who was violently attacked two weeks ago by a group of boys outside of Rosslyn school.
“We need to stand up for Pazo because he’s only a teen boy and that should not have happened in Edmonton public schools,” said Sunny, a resident who attended the rally and did not want to give her last name.
“It’s obvious it’s a hate crime but it’s being pushed under the rug,” Rally participant Veronica Waititu said.
Pazo and his family did not attend the rally but many of his supporters did calling for more police accountability for what happened to him.
“We would also like to get justice for Pazo, there seems to be very little action around what has happened and then the second the chief as spoke out me spoke in a very problematic way,” rally organizer and founder of a Fight for Equity Tiera Williams said.
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The assault captured on video is being called a racist attack by many people but earlier this week, police chief Dale McFee addressed the public regarding the investigation.
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“A highly inappropriate slur by one of the other youth was used during this incident, this in itself does not constitute a hate crime,” Edmonton police chief Dale McFee said Thursday.
The chief went on to say that what took place outside the school is being investigated as an assault as there is no indication that he was attacked because of his race.
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He also said the majority of those involved are from racialized communities but it was the chiefs following words that did not sit well with many who showed up at the rally.
“Our investigation currently shows that this began as a consensual schoolyard fight,” chief Dale McFee said.
“Stating that this was consensual — that in all fairness — is not just, so this is why we’re here,” rally speaker Emmanuel Tamba said.
“It could have been consensual had it been one on one but the second six other kids jump in, it’s no longer consensual,” Williams said.
Organizers said they would like to see an open dialogue between police and the family to work towards a peaceful resolution.
As for the chief, he said he hopes to slow down the negative reactions and rhetoric towards all the teens involved.
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