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Not a hate crime

Vancouver police say they’re “satisfied” that an incident in which a gay man was pelted with eggs and a glass bottle on Davie St May 2 is not a hate crime.

On Jun 10, police released footage of three men they say were purchasing eggs at a Mac’s store in the area and asked the public to help identify them. Since that appeal, three men have turned themselves in to police in connection with the alleged assault involving 37-year-old West End resident Harold Veerman.

Veerman told Xtra West he was walking on Davie St when he passed three youths who were standing around “being noisy” in the alcove of the Safeway supermarket. As he crossed the street at the corner of Davie and Cardero, Veerman says he “got nailed in the back by an egg.”

Veerman says he ignored the hit and continued walking but at a faster clip. At that point, he alleges, the youths pelted “a ton of eggs” at him.

“I got hit one or two more times. Then,” he alleges, “one of the youths – I don’t know which one because I never turned around once it started happening – threw a glass bottle and it smashed to the left of me on the ground.”

That’s when Veerman says he ran up the hill with the youths in pursuit for at least half a block.

Veerman says the three, who he described as being of East Indian descent, were “definitely yelling” at him but he could not make out what they were saying.

Veerman filed a police report the next day and says both the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) and victim services were “fantastic” in their follow-up.

VPD spokesperson Const Tim Fanning says police “went to extra measures with this one” because they weren’t sure if they were dealing with a hate crime.

“The victim couldn’t remember – because it was a very scary event – what was being said,” Fanning notes. “It would have certainly sealed it had we known what was being said.”

The matter is still being investigated, he adds, and assault charges could still be laid.

Fanning says the VPD takes hate crimes very seriously and encourages queer people to report any incidents immediately.