APTN National News
A woman in Thunder Bay is recovering in hospital after a passenger of a moving car threw a trailer hitch at her.
Barbara Kentner required surgery because of the incident that damaged her stomach.
Her sister Melissa Kentner was with her when it happened during the wee hours of January 28.
They were making a routine trek after leaving their other sisters house and headed to Kentner’s sons.
Melissa was walking ahead of her sister when she noticed a car fast approaching.
“I saw the guy hanging outside the car window…I didn’t really think anything of it and then I heard him say, ‘oh, I f**ken got one.’ And he’s laughing away…I turn around and my sister’s like this, ‘oh, Melissa I got hit with something.’ Then she’s like, ‘look to see what I got hit with!’ And I came back and I see a trailer hitch,” said Melissa Kentner.
Police are now looking for the individuals responsible for what they say is an assault with a weapon charge.
Melissa Kentner grew up in Thunder Bay and has a lot of family in the area. She said she usually feels safe, but not anymore.
In the past, she has experienced harassment while walking like being called racial slurs.
Racially charged incidents are not uncommon in the community, said Melissa Kentner.
In fact, she recognizes the vehicle that police are looking for.
“The same car that did this I’ve seen it before. This summer it threw eggs at us when we were standing outside Newfies.”
Nishnawbe Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief Anna Betty Achneepineskum said this type of thing has been going on for too long and needs to be taken seriously.
“Some people may deny this happens, but as Indigenous people, especially women, this has happened to us too often. I know lots of people. Too many,” said Achneepineskum.
It has even happened to her while walking down the street six years ago where she was egged.
The police said they don’t carry any statistics on these type of throwing incidents, however, they are still concerned and call it a criminal offence.
“I know that does happen and in this particular case it’s a very heavy object that was thrown,” said Chris Adams of the Thunder Bay Police Service. “A trailer hitch…we were able to seize that so we do have that as evidence. In criminal terms when you throw something at someone, that’s an assault. If it’s an object like that that can cause bodily harm that would be assault with a weapon.”
There is the possibility that this could be labeled a hate crime, he added.
Police are asking anyone with information to contact them.