Police launch hate crime investigation after spree of homophobic attacks sees queer folk beaten, spat at and pelted with rocks
Police in Canada have launched an investigation after three brutal homophobic attacks took place over the course of just four days.
The attacks – which occurred in Calgary, Alberta — are being investigated as suspected hate crimes by local police.
The first incident occurred on Friday (July 31) near the intersection of 17 Avenue and 12 Street in the middle of the day. The victim was set upon by a group of men who attacked him while calling him homophobic slurs, before quickly fleeing the scene.
On Saturday (August 1), a drag king was spat on by a man while recording a video at the rainbow crosswalk at the intersection of Centre Street and Stephen Avenue Mall S.W.
Finally, on Monday (August 3), a queer couple were out walking near the intersection of 9 Street and Memorial Drive at around 5.30pm when they were approached by two men and two women on electronic scooters.
The two men proceeded to beat the men using a belt, rocks and a recycling bin. It is believed that the couple were targeted because of their sexual orientation.
Police have since identified the suspects photographed in the August 3 incident, but have not yet released their names. They have asked the public to remain patient while they collect evidence.
Homophobic attacks branded ‘extremely disturbing’ by Calgary Police.
“It is shocking to see anyone targeted for a crime because of a personal characteristic, but it is extremely disturbing to see the same community targeted three times in one weekend,” said sergeant Arlene Padnivelan of Calgary Police in a press release.
“It is unacceptable that this is happening and we will absolutely investigate anytime a crime is motivated by hate or bias.”
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Calgary Police urged anyone who has been the victim of a hate crime in the city to report the incident.
“We fully recognise that sometimes people do not want to involve the police or don’t feel comfortable coming to us for help,” Padnivelan said.
“We respect the wishes of those who are most affected by the incident and never force a victim to participate in a police investigation.
“However, if there is a way we can help make a person feel safe enough to come forward, we want to try do that.”
Police are urging anyone with information in any of the three cases to come forward by calling 1-800-222-8477 or visiting its crimestoppers website.