Racism At Its Worst: Disabled Black Refugee Beaten By His Own Crutch

Francis Pitia is a refugee from Sudan, fleeing the civil war before peace was established there. He spent time in a refugee camp in Uganda.He came to Kitchener, Ontario.Last week, he was swarmed by bunch of white young men, and beaten to the ground. What makes this appalling is that Pitia is disabled since childhood, having one leg non-functional because of polio. He has to use a crutch to walk. Those who beat him took the crutch from him and beat him with it.He had to get stitches to his cut lip, his ribs hurt and his eyes were still blood shot. I can't for the life of me see how someone would someone beat a disabled person to the ground. Either they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or they were emboldened by mob mentality, or something else that I can't comprehend. Here is coverage from the CBC, and the Globe and Mail.The real coverage was by the local newspaper, The Record. I am copying the two article in their entirity under fair use rules, because of the seriousness of the matter.

Disabled refugee beaten with own crutch near parkWaterloo man charged after group screams slurs and swarms victimBRIAN WHITWHAM KITCHENER (Jul 18, 2006) A refugee from Sudan remained in pain and confusion yesterday after a weekend attack near Victoria Park in which he was beaten with his own crutch.All that Francis Pitia knows is that a large group of men screamed racial slurs before attacking him on David Street on Saturday night.They knocked him to the pavement with a barrage of punches and kicks, and he believes he lost consciousness.Pitia, 33, whose right leg has been paralyzed since childhood from polio, does remember having a crutch ripped from him during the attack.He said one man used it as a club on his chest and stomach and then took the crutch.Pitia put his face in his hands and wept yesterday as he struggled to make sense of the beating."No one in my own country came to fight me like that," said Pitia, who came here from a refugee camp in Kenya about three years ago. "I'm disabled. Why would they fight me?"Police charged a 22-year-old Waterloo man yesterday with robbery, assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm.His name was not released yesterday but police spokesperson Olaf Heinzel said the man will appear in court today. Police expect more people will be arrested as a result of the beating, Heinzel said.Pitia's right eyeball was bloodshot yesterday. His bottom lip had been stitched up.Most of the swelling in his face had subsided but he said his head was still aching. He winced with every movement because of the bruising on his chest and rib cage."Right now I'm in pain," he said, shaking his head. "Somebody beats you for no reason and you feel angry."Pitia was walking with his friend Daniel Tolit along David Street shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday.They were heading toward Joseph Street when they saw a group of about 10 men, most of whom were white and appeared to be in their 20s, coming over a hill on the edge of Victoria Park.They were screaming slurs at the two men and a third Sudanese man who was walking in the same area.Tolit said the group, claiming to be from Germany, were yelling that they didn't want black people in their country."When they saw us, we didn't even talk to them," Tolit said. "No one said a word."He said the group first swarmed the unidentified Sudanese man who was walking alone. He broke free and that's when the men moved in on Tolit and Pitia.Tolit said he fought off his first two attackers but they regrouped and came back with five. He then sprinted to the bus terminal on Charles Street and spoke to security officers.Before leaving David Street, he saw Pitia on the ground with the assailants all around him.Tolit said he was terrified."When I talked to security, I didn't know if Francis was alive or dead," he said. "I said, 'I just need help to call the police.' "Pitia said he was too confused to be scared. He said he did his best to defend himself but there wasn't much he could do."They came to beat me. They knocked me down . . . The next thing I knew, I was in the hospital."Tolit said the attackers were gone when he returned to David Street. A good Samaritan who tried to stop the attack also ended up being beaten.This man and the Sudanese victim who had been alone were gone before police arrived, Heinzel said. The police would like to speak with both men, he said.Pitia was treated and released from Grand River Hospital on Sunday. He said he's lucky his injuries aren't more serious.He broke down when he thought about the beating but said he refuses to be afraid of walking around downtown."If I got scared about that, I will get scared of everyone," he said."It's not all people. It was just that group."Tolit said he can't help feeling a bit frightened. The attack wasn't provoked and who can say it won't happen again, he said."I'm really worried. Because I feel like, anytime, I can be attacked."Anyone with information is asked to call the police at 519-653-7700, ext. 4434, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. 

And another article from July 22.

Living one step at a timeOne week after attackers clubbed Francis Pitia with his own crutch, the Sudanese refugee is refusing to let fear get the best of himBRIAN WHITWHAM KITCHENER (Jul 22, 2006) Francis Pitia has battled poverty, fled a civil war and huddled in a tent to avoid Somalian thieves -- all with the use of one leg.But until last Saturday, the Sudanese refugee had never been swarmed and beaten with his own crutch by a group of men screaming racial slurs at him.He was walking on David Street, near Joseph Street, when a group of white men came out of Victoria Park to attack him around 10:50 p.m.Pitia, 33, lost the movement in his right leg to polio as a child. He couldn't do much to defend himself and he was beaten unconscious.Another Sudanese man was also beaten, along with a Good Samaritan who tried to stop the assault. Police have charged a Waterloo man in the attack and the investigation is continuing.Pitia spent this week healing at home. His phone has been ringing off the hook with friends, people from his Mennonite church and callers he doesn't even know wishing him well.He said he appreciates the support but doesn't know what to tell people about the attack. Pitia said he refuses to let it scare him or affect his outlook."Why would I be afraid to walk outside?" he asked yesterday with a smile. "The people here love me so much."This is just something that happened to me."That seems to be Pitia's approach to everything. Since he left Sudan as a teenager, he has battled all kinds of adversity, always fending for himself."It's what I do," he said with a shrug. "It's part of life."Pitia was raised by his grandparents, Benjamin and Mareta, in a district in southern Sudan, about 20 kilometres from the Ugandan border. His parents were killed in a car accident when he was a baby and he was their only child.Civil war broke out in Sudan in the 1980s and by 1987, the fighting reached Pitia's neighbourhood.He said he was outside when he heard gunfire one morning and saw masses of people heading south.He said he dropped everything and followed. He never saw his grandparents again.With a wooden stick he used as a crutch, Pitia hopped for 20 kilometres as the sounds of war faded behind him."It took me a whole day because I just walked," he said. "I'd walk, sit down and walk again."He eventually crossed the border and reached a refugee camp in northeast Uganda. He stayed for more than three years under a plastic sheet that had been provided as a tent.He survived largely on corn, beans, and handouts he received for helping the fishing crews at a nearby river.He enjoyed playing soccer with other boys his age in his spare time but conditions in the camp were dire.Eventually, a family friend, who had also fled Sudan, offered to help him get out of the camp.Pitia said the friend took him to people in Uganda's capital city who gave him a room. At 16 or 17 years old, he was dropped in Kampala with 10,000 Ugandan shillings -- a few dollars Canadian -- to find a new life.He started selling candy off a table downtown. He soon moved on to soaps, shampoo, toothbrushes and other cosmetic products.For a few years, life was safe and relatively comfortable. But at 21 years old, Pitia got tired taking help from the people he was boarding with."I look at my life like nobody is beside me," he said. "Really, I do things for myself."He was also realizing that he didn't want to spend his life selling soap on the street.He said his operation was getting by but without an education, his options were limited. He wanted to find schooling, learn to write and become a better businessman.Once again, he picked up and left, this time for Nairobi. But Pitia didn't find work and he said police officers in Nairobi were not fond of Sudanese refugees.He headed north on his stick. Pitia had no choice but to return to corn and beans in another refugee camp, this time in northeast Kenya. He said the conditions there were worse than the camp in Uganda.Besides the meagre food supply and scorching heat of the desert, the remote camp often had thieves sneaking in from nearby Somalia.They would wait for police to finish a cursory patrol at night before attacking.Pitia said it was up to the Sudanese in the camp to care for themselves. They took shifts on lookout and would scream once they saw robbers moving in.Pitia said he often heard gunfire and watched refugees flood past his makeshift tent at night but there was nothing he could do."I just stayed in my tent," he said. "Where am I going to go . . . (I thought) if they come in and kill me, then that's it."That's how Pitia lived for about four years until the night raids subsided around 1999.He learned to make shoes at a community centre near the camp and he sold them to buy meat.He was then in the right place at the right time when United Nations workers moved the Sudanese refugees out of that area of Kenya in 2002. Pitia said they were scattered to countries around the world.The next thing he knew, he was getting off a plane in Winnipeg in early 2003 as a government-sponsored refugee.It was late winter and everything was covered in snow. Pitia had never seen snow but he thought the land looked curiously similar to the desert he had just left.He settled in Kitchener, where he is now living on a disability pension and attending the St. Louis Adult Learning Centre on Young Street. He hopes to find work once his language and writing skills are up to speed.For now, he's happily involved with his church and as many sports as he can fit in. Pitia said he loves table tennis, pool and soccer.ROOKIE OF THE YEARHe also recently got into sledge hockey -- a wheelchair version of the game -- with the K-W Sidewinders.Pitia has a plaque for being the team's most recent rookie of the year."I love the team," he said. "They're strong guys. They want to train me to be a goalie."It's clear the award hasn't gone to Pitia's head. Like everything else, he takes it in stride.

Appalling, shocking, disgusting ... yet in our own back yard ...

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Attacker tried and to be sentenced

From The Record

Man whose crime shocked black community blames 'stupidity' fuelled by alcohol, not racismInstigator of attack on polio victim offers tearful apology in courtTAMSIN MCMAHONKITCHENER (Jun 8, 2007) The man who led an angry mob that beat a disabled Sudanese man made a tearful apology in court yesterday, saying he's not a racist and wants to kick his addiction to alcohol.Wearing an untucked black and white shirt, his head shaven and in handcuffs, Lacie Bradley made an emotional plea before a sentencing hearing in Kitchener court."This act was not fuelled by racial hatred, but my drunken stupidity fuelled by alcohol," he read from a handwritten statement address to the victim, Francis Pitia, and the community."I am so sorry for everything you've been through. I'm sorry for the pain I've caused," he continued. "It breaks my heart. I'm disgusted with myself and my actions."Bradley, 23, a transient with a long criminal record, was convicted last month of assault causing bodily harm for leading an unprovoked group attack on Pitia, 33, and Salah Dawoud as they walked near Victoria Park last summer. Pitia, who uses crutches because his right leg was paralyzed by childhood polio, was pushed to the ground as Bradley beat him while yelling racial slurs. One member of the group allegedly beat Pitia with his own metal crutch.Bradley said he has friends and family who are visible minorities, including some of his nieces and nephews.He offered to meet with members of Kitchener's black community to be sensitized to their issues. He broke down when he said he hoped to turn his life around with the help of Rick King, a friend of the family who successfully ended a life of crime after finishing a 14-year prison stint.King, sitting near the front of the court, also broke down."I need to stop this self-destructive path I've been on," Bradley said. "I need to grow up and become a man."Bradley's lawyer, Brennan Smart, urged the judge not to let the racial aspect of the crime cloud his judgment on the sentence."It's not a case of we're even more disgusted by racism here in Kitchener, so we're going to give you more (time). That's not justice," Smart said."This case boils the blood of every decent person in the community. Nobody can look at the case and feel anything but anger. We don't sentence in anger. That's what distinguishes a court of law from a lynch mob."He called for Bradley to serve 18 months jail time in a correctional treatment facility along with three years' probation. The sentence would be in addition to the 11 months Bradley has already served awaiting trial.But assistant Crown attorney Marg Janzen said the case struck at the core of Kitchener's status as a welcoming, multicultural society."This racial attack has ripped through the entire black community as if all of them are his victims," she said.She asked the judge to sentence Bradley to "significant" penitentiary time "that will send shockwaves and terror into the heart of racist offenders."Bradley said he was born in Kitchener to a mother who was a drug-addicted prostitute and a father who was a chronic alcoholic.He said he was raised with no supervision by his father, who let his young son stay out until 1 a.m. most nights.By age 13, Bradley said he was living on the street and drinking. By 14, he was into drugs and run-ins with the law."I never really learned any rules," he said.Janzen characterized Bradley as a violent street thug who refused to get clean even with the help of a church group that baptized him and a family that took him in."He encourages others who try to go on the straight and narrow to continue on the path of destruction," she said. "That's the role model he is and continues to be."Bradley has been convicted of 42 offences since he was first placed on probation in 1999, including assaults, robbery and escaping from custody, she said.He was under two probation orders at the time he assaulted Pitia.Jansen also questioned Bradley's plea that the attack on Pitia was not racially motivated."Lacie Bradley claims he is not a racist, but a drunken man's words are a sober man's thoughts."Bradley's sentencing hearing will continue on Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Lacie Bradley is a good man

I have had an intimate relationship with the accused Lacie Bradley and I know for a fact that he is not racist and that he is a misunderstood individual. Lacie always tries to do the right thing and I believe that he is a wonderful person. I do not believe he should have gotten so much time for his actions. I think it is wrong.

A Very Good Man You Have To

A Very Good Man
You Have To Be Mad To Say That
Too Bad He Did Not Get 50 Years To Life In Prison
In Thailand Drug Offenders Get The Death Sentence And Forigners Get 50 Years Because They Are Forigners. Racial Assult (Atempted Murder) Is Much Worse Then Drug Sales.

listen u stupid bitch in this

listen u stupid bitch in this country the punishment fits the crime read the case files the bodly harm was a laseration on the inside of his mouth that required two stiches that aint worth 5 years and again i did not get attempted murder assuslt bodly harm

bahahahaha

i think you need to move along in your life with your husband. thanks for trying to defend Lacie (after the fact retard) but you are the one who is misunderstood! Lacie has grown up alot and learned alot from all the mistakes in his past,including you. he is a different man! so learn from him!

*LACIE IS MY HUSBAND AND AMAZING*

THIS IS TO ALL OF YOU WHO DONT KNOW THE REAL LACIE BRADLEY...F*** YOU! HA! HE WAS A RETARD BACK WHEN ALL THIS SHIT HAPPENED YES, BUT A BAD PERSON NO! EVERYONE DOES STUPID SHIT IN THEIR LIFETIME! AND IF YOU ACTUALLY KNEW THE WHOLE TRUTH ABOUT THAT NIGHT, IT WASNT EVEN HIM WHO ASSULTED THAT MAN WITH HIS OWN CRUTCHES, HE DOESNT NEED WEAPONS TO HURT SOMEONE DUH! READ EVERYTHING BEFORE YOU RUN YOUR MOUTHS. YES IT WAS WRONG BUT WAS IT JUST, YES! THERE IS MORE REASONS TO WHY THIS HAPPENED, AND NO IT WASNT PLANNED, WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME FOR THE MAN. I DONT CONDON WHAT HAPPENED THAT NIGHT, BUT SOME PEOPLE (DISABLED OR NOT) SHOULDNT BE SELLING CRACK TO MINORS END OF STORY!
(and to krystal...get over yourself! thanks for defending my husband, but you were a drunking mistake haha move along in life with your husband and family)

karma

And how do you feel about this now? You should have been sent to an all black prison and had what you did written on your face. You got off EASY on this crime but karma WILL find you......

Lacie had a bad home life

Lacie did have a bad home life. His father was an alcoholic and drug user. There was no consistency in Lacie's life. At approximately 4 years old he was left alone at home while his father frequented the bars. He was punished (punched by his father) and the next time he was allowed to do something with no consequences. His father kicked him out of the house at the age of 13 and he lived in foster homes, and eventually group homes. He severely lacked the love and nurturing a young child should have. His father took him away from his mother when he was a baby , I believe to hurt and spite her. Lacie's maternal and paternal grandparents did nothing to help him. His mother did nothing to help him.

However, despite his childhood, I don't condone what Lacie did to that man.