Death threats made against local hairdresser
Okotoks: Misty Shingoose victim of racial slurs, threats in Deer Run neighbourhood
Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 06:00 am
A local hairdresser is living in fear for her life after being harassed and threatened by neighbours whom she says have a racist agenda.
Misty Shingoose, who lived in Okotoks for years and works at Image Hair Design, has had death threats and racial slurs thrown at her in her Deer Run neighbourhood in Calgary, in a note scrawled on a bed sheet and left on her front lawn.
“It told me to go back to the reserve with my bus, and #MMIW (missing and murdered indigenous women) and #residentialschool4u,” said Shingoose. “The letter was brutal, racial slurs, death threats, threats of raping me to death with my favourite pair of shears.”
It all began with her charitable organization, Care Cuts, which provides haircuts for the city’s homeless in downtown Calgary on Sundays. She had been working out of her vehicles for a couple of years when she decided to up the organization’s game and transform an old school bus into a salon on wheels.
She’s been working at fixing up the bus for about a year, replacing the engine and redesigning and rewiring the interior to allow her to install salon chairs, sinks and storage space. It has been parked been in the alley and on the street at her Deer Run home while the work was being done.
The bus was towed while she was on vacation in November after a neighbour filed a complaint to the Calgary Parking Authority.
“When I got home and found the bus was towed I put a sign up on my house explaining what the bus was for and letting the neighbour who called on me know he could have just asked me, knock on my door and asked me,” said Shingoose. “I would have let him know it was getting towed later that week to have the rest of the work done.”
After a few days, the bus was released by Calgary Parking Authority, and all charges and tickets were removed, she said. It was towed back to the exact spot it had been taken from and Shingoose wasn’t charged a dime.
The story took a turn as one morning she awoke to find the words, ‘Homeless haircuts my ass,’ spray-painted in white across the black body of the bus. It was the same morning she found the bed sheet letter lying on her lawn.
When that news made the air in Calgary, other neighbours began popping up with their stories as well, she said.
One lady contacted Shingoose through her Care Cuts website, telling her she received a letter with the same symbol at the bottom as the bed sheet – a Canadian flag with a cross in the centre instead of the maple leaf.
The symbol belongs to a group called “Integra,” whose slogan is, “Standing for the integrity of Canada,” she said.
The neighbour was called a ‘Muslim sympathizer pig’ for supporting Nenshi during the election, and the letter went on to threaten to burn her house down if she didn’t move out of the neighbourhood. It was delivered with a large rock thrown through the front window of the house.
Since that story went national through the media, others have come forward. A First Nations neighbour told Shingoose she’s had numerous calls to Parking Authority and dogs let out of the yard many times, which resulted in Calgary Bylaw being called for animals at large. Even a padlock didn’t work, and was cut through to let the animals out of the gate, said Shingoose.
She’s had a similar experience in the past few days.
“My dog has a doggy door, so he went outside and the fence was opened,” said Shingoose. “My boyfriend has been doing checks on my house and guarding my house since the death threats, and he’d taken out the garbage at 11 p.m. that night and made sure everything was closed and locked.”
When her roommate got home at 1 a.m., the dog was on the front lawn and the gate was open, she said.
Shingoose said the level of racial hatred and harassment has people in the neighbourhood on-edge. The most frustrating part is that nothing is being done, she said.
“The note on my lawn, the first sentence said, ‘I called on you for having an eyesore space hog piece of shit in the street,’” said Shingoose. “The police were notified of that right away, and they still have yet to call Calgary Parking Authority and find out who called on the bus, who’s threatening me.”
She said her gut feeling is that there’s an abuse of power happening, that the person responsible is in a position of authority or close to people who are. Neighbours have told her the harassment has been going on for seven years and while reports are made, the police never follow up or look into it.
“I feel like it hasn’t been properly investigated by the authorities,” said Shingoose. “I have a feeling of unease and I don’t feel safe in my own home on a daily basis. I feel like this person has a visual of the front of my house 24/7 and can see me, I feel watched.
“I feel like anybody who’s walking in front of my house, it could be them. It’s a helpless and terrifying feeling to not be safe in your own home.”
Calgary Police Service was unavailable for comment prior to press deadline.