‘Misunderstanding’ sparked fight, viral video at Cowichan Aquatic Centre, says partner


North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP is investigating an incident at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre over the weekend that one family involved says started with a misunderstanding.

A video of part of the incident that took place on March 23 around 6:30 p.m. has been circulating online, which starts with women confronting a man and asking why he was in the women’s change room.

“I could identify as a lady with a beard, there’s nothing you can do about that,” the man in the video says.

Soon after, a verbal argument between the two families takes place, before a different woman walks up and hits the cell phone several times.

The video goes black for a few seconds but arguing and children screaming and crying can be heard. After a few seconds, three people can be seen fighting and grabbing each other before the video abruptly ends.

‘The whole thing was a misunderstanding’

However, speaking with CHEK News, the man’s partner says this happened because her kids went into the wrong change room.

Jupitor Butler, who lives on Salt Spring Island, was visiting the aquatic centre with her partner, Natus, and a neighbour. Butler says she planned to go into the family change room, but when her neighbour went into the women’s change room with her four kids, Butler’s three kids all followed the neighbour.

“So I was like, okay, they’re all running in there, and they already started changing into their bathing suits and stuff, but Natus, my partner, he hadn’t come in yet. He was still outside, and I have his swim shorts,” Butler told CHEK News.

“And I also needed his help, because he’s the dad of our family, and so that’s what ended up happening is that he came into the woman’s this one time, he’s never come into the woman’s change room with us ever before.”

Butler says Natus changed in the bathroom stall both when the family was entering the pool and after they got out. The person who posted a video of an altercation claims her partner was naked in front of children, which Butler is adamant did not happen.

She says the family was in a rush because they were going to the pool not long before it was closing, so they didn’t want to waste “the little bit of time we had for the kids to go in the pool.”

After Natus had changed and left the change room, Butler says two women approached her and asked why he had been in the change room. She says she explained what happened, and then when they started getting aggressive, Natus heard what was happening and went back to see what was going on.

“He wanted to protect us moms, and she started videotaping him,” Butler said.

“He has mental health issues, so we didn’t want him to get triggered and go into a loop where, you know, he was just really stressed out. So she [the neighbour] was trying to protect him, so she smacked the phone out of the woman’s hand.”

That interaction was caught on video, which is now circulating online. It begins with Natus saying he “could identify as a lady with a beard.” Butler says this isn’t the case, and that Natus is a man.

After the phone was hit out of the woman’s hand, Butler says Natus put his hand between the two women but was also holding his baby daughter at the time. She says at this point, the woman turned to him and pushed him into the wall, which resulted in the baby hitting her head on the wall.

“Instincts took over. I jumped. I grabbed the top of her hair, and I just put her in like a headlock, and I held her there, and I told her, ‘You need to stop, and I’m not going to let go until I know that you’re done, you say you’re done, and you walk away,’ and she said, ‘I’m done. I’m done. I’m done,'” said Butler.

“And I let go, and then it all stopped, and they left.”

CHEK News has contacted the person who posted the video online several times but did not receive a response by deadline.

A planned “Safe Spaces” rally is scheduled for Tuesday outside the aquatic centre.

Police investigating

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP is hoping to speak with any witnesses to this incident. Anyone who witnessed it is asked to call the detachment at 250-748-5522.

The Municipality of North Cowichan says anyone who sees someone who they believe is not acting in accordance with the Respectful Spaces Bylaw or the Code of Conduct should report it to staff.

“Members of the public who observe individuals who act in bad faith towards other patrons, or who contravene the Respectful Spaces Bylaw or the Code of Conduct to immediately report the incident or individual to facility staff so that the incident can be handled accordingly,” the municipality said in an email to CHEK News.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham
Oli HerreraOli Herrera

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