5 December 2011

Winnipeg Teen Facing Possible Hate Crime Charges

Regarding the story that we re-posted here, perhaps one of our readers might be able to give us a heads up on who the accused might be?

Winnipeg teen who allegedly burned Jewish girl’s hair may face race hate charge

Dec 4, 2011 – 9:25 PM ET | Last Updated: Dec 5, 2011 10:30 AM ET

A 15-year-old Manitoba youth who police say has anti-Semitic sympathies may face a hate-crime charge for allegedly pinning a Jewish classmate against a row of lockers and burning her hair with a lighter.

The altercation took place Nov. 18 in a hallway at Winnipeg’s Oak Park High School. After hurling racial slurs at a 15-year-old female classmate, the boy approached her, “pulled out a lighter and lit it against her hair,” said Winnipeg Police spokesman Constable Rob Carver.

The 15-year-old faces a charge of assault with a weapon, but the Manitoba Attorney General is investigating whether to pursue a hate-crime charge against the boy.

In the wake of the alleged attack, investigators found the accused’s Facebook page contained posts of an “anti-Semitic” and “Nazi” nature.

So far, “it doesn’t look like” his parents have any anti-Semitic sympathies of their own, said Const. Carver. “That’s not what investigators have seen,” he said.

A rarely used section of the Criminal Code targets those “who, by communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace.” The offense is punishable by a maximum of two years in prison.

As the boy is a youth, any charge he faces would be under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Oak Park officials first became aware of the alleged attack on Nov. 21 when the victim approached a school counsellor. The male student involved was immediately suspended and has withdrawn from the school.

The alma mater of several Olympians, actors and at least two NHL hockey players, the school’s last major violent incident was in 2007 when the school was locked down after a 16-year-old student flashed a knife during a hallway scuffle.

With a Jewish population of around 15,000, Winnipeg hosts the largest Jewish community of Canada’s prairies provinces.

“This is a horrible incident, but it is the exception rather than the rule,” said Shelley Faintuch, spokeswoman with The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, speaking to the Post on Sunday, adding that she was “not aware of any strong neo-Nazi movement within Winnipeg.”

Nevertheless, the city has seen a smattering of far-right extremism in recent years.

In the winter of 2009/2010, two members of the Aryan Guard were arrested in the Winnipeg area in connection with hate crimes committed in Calgary, including an attempted murder.

In 2008, a seven-year-old girl and two-year-old boy were taken from their parents by Manitoba Child Services after the girl was sent to school with Nazi slogans and symbols drawn onto her skin with a marker pen.

In a statement, Ms. Faintuch said she was “encouraged” by the quick action of Winnipeg Police, the Attorney General and the school district at Oak Park High School. “We have full confidence … that they will send a strong message that any act of anti-Semitism or racism will not be tolerated and will be punished to the full extent of the law,” she wrote.


Anonymous said...

What's even more troubling are the teens at the school, they interviewed about the incident, who mostly said that this was an incident blown out of proportion.

Anonymous said...

I hope the Jewish girl or Bnai Brith would bring a civil Lawsuit against any Skinhead or Nazi groups that may have incited her attacker to this cowardly criminal act. Bankrupt them all!, like Morris Dees of SPLC did to the Aryan Nations!!!!

Anonymous said...

I grew up in St.Boniface and suffered broken ribs, broken leg, smashed open chin, and being spit on because I was the only native kid in my community and for some reason I was punished and hurt for it. Not once was I told the abuse was due to racism and that it was not my fault....racism does not exsist in Winnipeg unless its a nameless phenomena that no one actually has to take responsibility for...I now am a adult and live in the north end and the only troubles I've had here are from racist white people who try to "put me in my place" hence I do most of my shopping downtown. Including picking up prescriptions and such. I feel I should spend my hard earned money in establishments that treat me like a customer and not like a potential felon or thief.