Hate crimes officers in Edmonton announced Wednesday a total of 22 new charges against four people in six separate incidents they believe were “motivated by hate.”
In total, there were 23 “hate-motivated crimes” in the city from January to March, compared to 13 in the same period last year, Edmonton Police Service said.
“We want citizens to know that this behaviour will not be tolerated,” said Sgt. Gary Willits with EPS Hate Crimes and Violent Extremism Unit (HCVEU).
“It is critically important that the public report any and all instances of hate, and we are very thankful to those who came forward as witnesses in these files.”
In each of the attacks announced Wednesday, EPS is recommending that Section 718.2 of the criminal code be applied, allowing courts to consider increased sentencing.
Willits said officers attempt to understand the motivations driving each crime, and has learned that often the attackers are in pain themselves.
“Some have been very blunt. They do have racist beliefs and they’re hurting and they’re upset for maybe trauma they’ve encountered themselves and they’re acting out. Some refuse to comment and then have some individuals that don’t even recall the situation,” he explained, adding that addictions and mental health are common factors.
“The solution for this is not jail. I understand that for community safety we need to hold people accountable and at times people do need to be secured, but the bigger picture is how do we solve this on a global scale, because we have several individuals out there hurting and we’re trying to find the solution how we can get them back contributing to society.”
MAN WEARING TURBAN ATTACKED
Police revealed Wednesday that on Feb. 28, a South Asian man who was wearing a turban was spat on and threatened on the Southgate LRT platform. During the incident, the attacker was making racial comments, EPS said.
Andrew Antonius Debrouwer, 34, of Edmonton was charged with two counts of assault in that incident.
DRIVE-THRU WORKERS SPIT ON
EPS also announced that on March 1, two drive-thru workers in north Edmonton, one Black and one Southeast Asian, were spit on by a person making racial comments.
A 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named by law, was charged with two counts of assault in that incident.
GUN POINTED AT FAMILY
Then on April 2, a Black woman and a white man were walking with their baby in a stroller in the McCauley neighbourhood when a man started yelling racial slurs and pointing a firearm toward them, EPS said.
The tactical team responded, a replica firearm was found, and a 39-year-old man was arrested. A total of 11 charges were laid against him, including assault with a weapon, criminal harassment, uttering threats, use of imitation firearm while committing an indictable offence.
He has since died. Police did not say how, but his name will not be released.
3 BLACK MEN BEATEN
Another man, 46-year-old Gabriel Dale Cardinal, is facing a total seven charges for allegedly attacking three Black men in the 118 Avenue area.
Police said a Black man was walking in the area on April 14 when Cardinal walked up, swore at him and punched him.
Police also accuse Cardinal of walking up to a Black man on April 17, pushing him to the ground and punching and kicking him before other people stopped their vehicles and chased the attacker away.
Cardinal is also facing charges in an assault with a weapon later that day where a Black man in the same area was randomly hit on the head with a pipe. Police said Cardinal was arrested near that scene.
Anyone affected by a hate crime can contact EPS Crime and Trauma-informed Support Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 780-421-2217.