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Man charged in alleged attack on Spencer Chandra Herbert’s office

Michael Melvin Williams faces assault and mischief charges

Vancouver West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert alleges that a man entered his office Feb 21 and punched his wall and his assistant while “screaming about ‘faggot flags.’” Credit: Jeremy Hainsworth

Past the colourful flowers from well-wishers in Spencer Chandra Herbert’s constituency office, a fist-sized hole in a door remains as a mute reminder of an allegedly homophobic assault on the politician’s executive assistant.

Michael Melvin Williams, 53, of Vancouver now stands charged with assault and mischief under $5,000 in connection with the assault, Vancouver Police Department spokesperson Sergeant Randy Fincham tells Xtra.

Williams is due in Vancouver Downtown Community Court April 4 to face the charges, Fincham says.

Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver West End, alleges a man entered his Denman Street office Feb 21, expressed his hatred for the rainbow flag flying in the window, punched the office door, then punched Chandra Herbert’s assistant in the face while still uttering homophobic statements.

“He was screaming about ‘faggot flags,’” Chandra Herbert told Xtra at the time. “We called the police and he was arrested.”

Fincham said at the time that a 53-year-old intoxicated man was arrested and released without charges.

“When police arrived a few minutes later, they found the man standing on the sidewalk, down the street from the office. He was arrested without incident and taken to jail,” he said in a statement. “Due the nature of the allegations, the incident is being investigated by the Vancouver Police Hate Crimes Unit.”

Premier Christy Clark’s press secretary, Sam Oliphant, tells Xtra, “the premier obviously finds this type of behaviour deplorable. The premier has been a strong advocate against bullying, especially in our schools and workplaces.”

On behalf of the premier and the BC Liberal Party caucus, Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart rose Feb 25 in the legislature to offer some words of support to Chandra Herbert and his constituency assistant.

“I would also like to give our entire caucus’s support to the member for Vancouver-West End and his constituency assistant over the shocking incident last week in his office,” Tegart said, according to a Hansard transcript provided to Xtra by the premier’s office. “We stand united against this type of hateful attack, and we wish the member’s constituency assistant a full and speedy recovery.”