Police do not intend to lay charges after two men in Campbellford, Ont. dressed up for a Halloween party as a member of the Ku Klux Klan and his black prisoner.
One of the men wore white robes and a cone-shaped headpiece, with a Confederate flag draped across his shoulders.
He was leading another man–who had full blackface makeup and was wearing a red and blue plaid shirt–around by a rope.
Const. Chris Dewsbury of the Northumberland OPP said police began to look into the situation after receiving a complaint following the Saturday night party at a Royal Canadian Legion.
He said an officer is still investigating but police don’t expect to press charges.
“At the present time it would appear this was simply a case of poor judgment into the selection of a Halloween costume and there is no evidence to suggest a criminal offence has taken place,” Dewsbury told CTV.ca.
He said the people wearing the costume did not intend it as a racist gesture and added that wearing the costume does not constitute a hate crime. The pair won a prize for the costume.
Joy Herrington, president of the Campbellford Legion, issued an apology on Tuesday for the incident.
“As president of Branch 103 Campbellford, of the Royal Canadian Legion, I humbly apologize to all those offended by the events that took place at our Halloween Party,” she said in a statement.
“The events in no way reflect the views of the Royal Canadian Legion, or its members. Those responsible have been spoken to.”
Mark Andrade, who owns a restaurant in Campbellford, said he was disgusted by the costume and upset that the Legion allowed it–and even awarded a prize to the men.
Andrade, who is black, told the Canadian Press he has “never felt as alone” as he did at the party, and left immediately after he saw the costume.
Trent Hills Mayor Hector MacMillan called the incident “unfortunate” and “appalling,” and said it’s not an accurate reflection of Campbellford, a small town north of Brighton, Ont.