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Kelly Pocha

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Video of the incident [7]

Kelly Pocha is a controller​ and mother of three residing in Cranbrook, British Columbia​. In April 2018 she was filmed yelling at a group of men in a racist rant at a Denny's​ in Lethbridge, Alberta​. In May 2018 the video was posted on Facebook​​ and soon went viral receiving over 120,000 views in less than 24 hours. She identified herself as the woman in the video in an interview the Lethbridge News Now. [1]​ [7]​​ [6]​ [4]

Personal Life

Kelly Pocha was born in Vancouver, British Columbia​ and moved with her family to Cranbrook, British Columbia in 1987. Pocha is a mother of three. Her hobbies include camping, hunting, ski-dooing, and spending time with her family. [1]​ [4]

Education

Image
Photo of Kelly Pocha from the Cranbrook Dodge website

Kelly Pocha studied Accounting​ at the College of the Rockies​, graduating in 2000. She previously graduated from Mount Baker Secondary School​ in 1996. [6]

Career

Kelly Pocha has worked as Controller at Cranbrook Dodge​ since July 2006. [6]

Racist Video Incident

On April 21, 2018 Kelly Pocha was caught on video yelling at a group of men at a Denny's​ in Lethbridge, Alberta in a racist rant. On May, 8, 2018 the video Monir Omerzai posted the video on his Facebook​ profile, the video went viral receiving over 120,000 views less than 24 hours. [7]

 

"Well shut your fucking mouth then, cause you know what, you're dealing with a Canadian woman now and I will leap across the table and punch you right in your fucking mouth," the woman says at the start of the video. [7]

 

"You're the one who started," a man can be heard saying in response.[7]

 

The video shows the two sides arguing back and forth, with the woman accusing the men of "not being Canadian." [3]

 

The two sides are seated in adjoining booths and the woman stands up several times, threatening to strike the men. [3]

 

"Go back to your fucking country, we don't need you here," she says. [7]

 

"It doesn't matter, we're all Canadians," a man responds. "We're all the same, you're a human being, I'm a human being."  [7]

 

Lethbridge Regional Police​ said on social media they are aware of the video and are looking into it. [3]

 

Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman issued a statement on social media. [3]

 

"I am embarrassed to learn that this incident happened in Lethbridge," it read. "We are working hard to address racism and bigotry but can not prevent ignorance and the hostile behaviour of individuals. Most Lethbridge citizens are proud of our reputation as a city that welcomes immigrants and refugees." [3]

 

British Columbia Minister for the Status of Women, Stephanie McLean also commented on the incident with a tweet that was later deleted. [3]

 

"She was definitely not right and was saying horrible bigoted things. That being said - I hearing right? At the beginning of the video does the man on the left say to her "you ask to speak". Then says something about her mother." [3]

 

Before the tweet was deleted, several comments said McLean likely misheard the tape and the man said "it doesn't matter" rather than something about the woman's mother. McLean later apologized on Twitter. [3]

Kelly Pocha's Response

In an interview with Lethbridge News Now, Kelly Pocha identified herself as the woman in the racist video and explained her side of the story. [1]

 

She said that she had been drinking that night, and that she and her husband went into the Denny's to grab something to eat late at night. [1]

 

She claims three men at the table behind them "started talking in their own language" behind her back, and were laughing at her and she believes, "making fun of her" and it set her off. [1]

 

"It started with a look. I turned around and looked at the one gentleman and he was staring at me. And I said is there a problem? And he said, 'no, no problem.' And I turned back around and I kind of looked over my shoulder again and he was still staring at me and I turned around and they were all kind of talking to each other in their own language and then they all started laughing at me. And that's basically when things started to get said. I normally don't get that angry, I have to get provoked. [1]

 

"You're only hearing one side of the story. He decided to hit record when I was extremely irritated and heated. You don't see the whole video, you don't see what was said to me, things like that. So yeah, I'm extremely upset about it, cause it's gotten, I think, way out of hand." [1]

 

Pocha says someone from Denny's eventually called police and the couple was asked to leave. [1]

 

Pocha says she's upset the video has gone viral and now doesn't know how to deal with it. "I don't know how to handle this kind of attention... I really don't know what to do at this point in time." [1]

 

She admits her comments were racist, saying, "Oh of course, of course it was. If I could take it back, I would. But I can't." [1]

 

Pocha has said that her employer has also been notified and she's not sure what any further fallout might be. [1]

 

"What people are seeing isn't the whole story. I was put down as well. There were comments made to me. My reaction was basically me just angry. Yes, I made some comments that shouldn't have been said...I even went back to Denny's and apologised to the manager, to the server. I told the manager if I could apologise to the men that were there, I would, for my actions. Because I mean, that's not who I am." [1]

 

Pocha says she's a hardworking mom of three, and it was an "off" day. [1]

 

"It is what it is...but I do apologise for what I said, cause a lot of it is not me. I don't normally say things like that." [1]

 

Kelly Pocha also released a statement to CTV Lethbridge[11]​: 

"I am releasing this statement with regards to the recent video that was released about me.  My actions that night were in-excusable and unfortunately can not be taken back.  There is however, a side that you are not seeing – and that is my side.  What you did not see in the video is the racial comments and obscenities made at me by the four men involved.  It’s unfortunate that no body gets to see that part, and what you are seeing in the video is my reaction to these comments.  Yes, my lash back was inappropriate and racial, but I was merely standing up for myself as I was being disrespected that night.  It is also disheartening to see that people are so quick to judge and make racial/ degrading comments about myself and my family without knowing the whole truth." [11]

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Created: 05/09/2018 08:34:42 PM UTC
Last Modified: 06/23/2018 05:22:48 AM UTC