Shark Club bouncer says group turned away because they threatened him, called him racist

Published: May 1, 2013

Manjit Gill (left) and Serge Rai attend their human rights tribunal in Vancouver on April 30, 2013. They have a complaint against the Langley Shark Club. Wayne Leidenfrost/PNG

SUSAN LAZARUK
VANCOUVER DESI

A Langley Shark Club bouncer accused of refusing to admit a group of Indo-Canadians because of their brown skin said he turned them away because they threatened him and called him a racist.

Andrew Schmah told a B.C. human rights tribunal he was not biased against any visible minority group, which he estimated made up about 30 to 40 per cent of the club’s clientele.

“Some of my best friends are Indo-Canadian,” said Andrew Schmah, who was working the door on Dec. 9, 2011, when a group of Indo-Canadians was denied entry at the club.

Three of them, Serge Rai and married couple Manjinder and Manjit Gill, all in their 40s, have each filed a complaint of race discrimination against the club. The complaints are being heard together by the tribunal.

Schmah said he turned away only one individual in the group because he had no ID, in compliance with the club’s policy of not admitting anyone of any age without photo ID.

He said he told them at first he would admit the individual if he came back with his ID.

Schmah said the others objected, calling him a racist and threatening to take his picture and send it to news outlets and post it on Facebook to accuse him of “racial profiling.”

The complainants earlier had told the tribunal they were being singled out that night, they say because they’re brown-skinned, while whites were allowed in in front of them after they were told the club was sold out. They also testified they were told they couldn’t get in because they were too late for their reservations.

Schmah then told the group they were all barred and ordered them to leave.

Schmah also testified he assaulted Rai because he was taking video of him “and I told him he couldn’t do that without my consent.”

Schmah grabbed Rai around the neck and threw him to the ground. He pleaded guilty to assault, for which he was sentenced to probation and ordered to take a anger management class.

He was also asked about an earlier assault conviction, for which he was given a discharge.

The assault occurred at the Shark Club against an Indo-Canadian, but Schmah could recall no details, including whether or not he was on shift that night.

Schmah quit the Shark Club last year and now works in construction.

The club’s manager, Brent Chow, had earlier testified that Rai had threatened to get a gun from his car and shoot Schmah and had also grabbed a metal stanchion to threaten them.

Rai had earlier testified he had only raised his voice when Schmah refused to return his shoe, which had flown off when he was assaulted.

The hearing was adjourned until a later date to allow the complainants to subpoena a police officer who attended the assault that night and to whom the group all provided ID.

The chair granted the adjournment over the Shark Club’s lawyer’s objection.

slazaruk@theprovince.com
twitter.com/susanlazaruk

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