Hamilton police say two unprovoked assaults that left a man in hospital with head injuries were motivated by homophobia.
“We’re concerned obviously because of the motivation,” Detective Sergeant Chris Kiriakopoulos told the Hamilton Spectator. “Clearly it appears to be anti-gay. Also the severity of the attack, unprovoked.”
The attacks took place very early on the morning of Sun, Dec 9. Both men had just left the Embassy nightclub, a predominantly gay venue. One man was attacked about 3am by three men in their early 20s who knocked him to the ground and then punched and kicked him in the head.
The second man was attacked a half hour later, also by three men. Police believe they were the same trio of attackers.
Kiriakopolous told The Spectator that police believe the victims were seen at the Embassy before the assault. He said the assailants may have been at the club as well.
Police arrested two men on Fri, Dec 14 in connection with one of the assaults. They have been charged with assault causing bodily harm.
In response members of Hamilton’s queer community will be holding a rally on Sat, Dec 15. Organizer Jamie Blair says he hopes it will persuade any witnesses to come forward.
“The whole picture of what happened is still a bit unclear,” says Blair. “We’re hoping to get the word out and prevent this from happening in the future.”
Blair says the police have handled the assaults very well. The community is thankful for the early arrests, he says.
“Hamilton is a very nice city,” he says. “It’s a very close-knit city. I think because this doesn’t happen very often here when it does it spreads a feeling that the neighbourhood is unsafe.”
According to Hamilton police statistics there were four assaults in 2006 that were considered hate crimes on the grounds of sexual orientation.