A 14-year-old male has been charged with aggravated assault in connection with an attack on an Edmonton lesbian, but police say it wasn’t a hate crime.
"After conducting numerous interviews with witnesses and persons of
interest, EPS Hate Crime Unit officers concluded that while an assault
occurred, it was not determined to be a hate crime,” says an Edmonton Police Service press release. “We have confirmed
that the incident was random and that the victim was not specifically
targeted,” says constable Patrick Ruzage.
Shannon Barry, 31, says she was walking home from a bar with friends when a group of men yelled homophobic slurs at them. She told CBC that one of the men kicked her in the face. Barry suffered a broken jaw, a crushed left eye socket and facial nerve damage. In an interview after the incident, she criticized police for not immediately filing a report.
"[Edmonton Police Service chief Mike] 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…. He said the office is looking into the incident, and the officer may face disciplinary action.” (read more at CBC Edmonton)
Shannon Barry was interviewed by CBC Edmonton after the attack. Watch CBC’s interview here.
Barry spoke to CTV Edmonton after Saturday’s police press conference:
"Obviously the incident was random, but that doesn’t change the fact
that they called me a faggot and kicked me in the face,” said Barry.
"Maybe I don’t understand how to define hate crimes, but to me that
speaks loud and clear.” (read more at CTV Edmonton)
Meanwhile, Edmonton’s queer community has rallied in response. Stay in the loop on the Community Response Project Facebook Group. A kiss-in is planned for Saturday, May 15 at the Alberta Legislature. See more details on the Facebook Event.