25 April 2010

Victim Called a Dyke, Attacked Because of Her Sexuality, But it Isn't a Hate Crime

Apparently we have a different idea of what constitutes a hate crime, but what do we know?

Teen charged in violent Edmonton assault

Last Updated: Saturday, April 24, 2010

A 14-year-old boy has been charged in connection with an assault on a 31-year-old woman who says the attack was a hate crime.

The boy, who can't be identified, was arrested on Friday and charged with aggravated assault after the vicious attack on April 17 in the area of 76 Avenue and 96 Street.

The victim, Shannon Barry, suffered a broken jaw, a crushed left eye socket and facial nerve damage.

Barry, who is a lesbian, said she and five friends were walking home from a bar in south Edmonton when a group of men started yelling at them from the other side of the street, calling them "dykes" and "faggots."

In an interview after the attack, Barry told CBC News one of the men then walked over and kicked her in the face.

Police said at a media briefing on Saturday that after interviewing witnesses they've determined the assault was "random and that the victim was not specifically targeted."

At the briefing, Edmonton police Chief Mike Boyd also apologized for the way the investigation was handled.

"I want to offer my apology to the victim, and I also want to offer my apology on behalf of the Edmonton Police Service to our wider minority communities here in the city of Edmonton," he said.

Barry had raised concerns, saying police did not begin investigating until several days after the assault.

At the time, police confirmed they began investigating after a CBC News report came out Wednesday, detailing how the officer who responded to Barry's 911 call had not followed the standard police practice of calling in a dog team or helicopter to search for the attackers, who had fled after the assault.

The officer also did not interview any of the witnesses and did not file a report the same day the assault occurred, which is a breach of police policy.

Boyd apologized for the error on Saturday, saying the officer failed to file an internal report the day the assault occurred and didn't finish the report until he returned from his scheduled days off on Thursday.

However, Boyd said the hate crime unit was given the file and starting investigating on Wednesday — despite the fact that the officer's report was not submitted until the next day.

Boyd said the officer is a constable with "several years" of experience. He said the office is looking into the incident, and the officer may face disciplinary action.


Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to the EPS and their famous Blue Wall of Silence? I prefer the old EPS and their crooked ways. Now they just look like a bunch of bumbling Barney Fife's.

Also, how has a 14 year old boy been labelled a man? The victim states that she ways attacked by a group of men, yet only a 14 year old is charged. Guess she picked the wrong day to G.A.P (Gay and Proud).

Boo ya, init!

Anonymous said...

It looks as though the term the police used, “not specifically targeted,” is another way to say, “we don’t want to call this a hate crime.” Also it seems that the only person who put two and two together was Barry. Honestly, who looks at this and assumes it was a random act of violence? Just because a relationship between the victim and attacker does not exist and the attack was unwarranted, does not mean it was random. The police have apologized for their lack of judgment and flat out disrespect for Barry’s rights, but only out of obligation.

Anonymous said...

I believe it went something like this: "Stop making shit up--he is fourteen and fourteen-year-olds don't lie about why they attacked people to get out of being charged with a hate crime, why, fourteen-year-olds don't lie at all."
Sans my dramatic licence.

TorontoSHARP said...

While the police really did bugger this up, the fact that the homophobic idiot was not charged with a hate crime might also have to due with the fact that he is only 14, and still protected under the Young Offenders Act.

That being said it's sad to see that so much hate a violence can be stored up in a teenager. Hopefully he gets some counselling, and hopefully the victim can manage to not live in fear.

Anonymous said...

If a 14-year-old is old enough to kick someone in the face because of her sexuality, he's old enough to face consequences for his actions.