While he is happy he received a letter of apology after being escorted out of the Chilliwack Library last month, Mike Wilson fears the same treatment he received awaits other people.
Wilson is a 66-year-old First Nations man and a longtime Hope resident: he often takes the bus into downtown Chilliwack to visit shops and the library on First Avenue. On Nov. 2, Wilson was asked to leave and escorted out of the library by three security guards after being told he had too many belongings with him, an episode he alleges was racially motivated.
“I am sorry that you had a negative experience at the library on this day,” a letter from library manager Nicole Glentworth reads. The letter states the incident happened on Nov. 6, however Mike Wilson said it happened Friday, Nov. 2.
“I would like to assure you that I have thoroughly investigated this matter and we are working closely with Griffin Security to ensure that an incident like this does not occur in the future,” Glentworth stated.
The letter goes on to reaffirm that work is ongoing to make the library a welcoming place for everyone and that the library has ‘used this incident as a way of improving our service to all.’
Wilson has been back to the library a few times since the Nov. 2 incident. Initially leery about going back because of the way he was treated, he said he hasn’t experienced any negative treatment since that day.
The letter itself, he said, is a nice gesture but it is more of an excuse rather than a true apology.
“The way I got treated is really bad,” he said. “I think the letter is just whitewashing it. But, it’s a letter…I’m happy with that letter.”
Wilson, who visits libraries in Agassiz, Hope and Chilliwack often, said he met Glentworth Dec. 13 at the Hope Library and she apologized to him in person.
He also ran into Fraser Valley Regional Library’s CEO Scott Hargrove by chance in Agassiz. Wilson said Hargrove was very apologetic and told him the incident should never have happened.
While his own ordeal is over, Wilson said ‘it’s going to happen to someone else.’
“That Griffin Security, it was just like I was doing something wrong,” he said, recalling how the first guard reacted by getting a second guard, and then a third joined as the three of them escorted Wilson out of the building. “Why the drama? It was uncalled for…It wasn’t right.”
When asked whether Griffin Security & Investigation Services Ltd. would speak with a reporter about this incident or issue a statement, chief financial officer Tara Goldstone stated the company could not make a comment.
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