A 30-year-old Vancouver man is recovering from facial injuries after he was violently attacked in Vancouver’s gay village early on Canada Day.
Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
The victim suffered injuries requiring medical attention at the scene.
Vancouver Police Department (VPD) spokesperson Const Jana McGuiness says police are still waiting for medical reports but says the injuries “could be as much as a broken nose or teeth.”
Two men in their early 20s are in custody facing charges of aggravated assault in connection with the attack.
“Disturbing comments were also allegedly made regarding the victim’s sexual orientation,” McGuinness says.
McGuinness would not say what those statements were.
“That’s evidence,” she says.
Police say the victim was walking with friends along Davie St near Burrard when they passed a group of men and women at about 2:45 am.
Suddenly, one of the men from the group turned and verbally confronted the victim, McGuinness says.
Words were exchanged and, without warning, the victim was allegedly punched in the face by his attacker, knocking him to the ground.
McGuinness says further blows were rained on the victim as he lay on the ground and a second man joined in on the assault.
The two then fled on foot, McGuinness says.
They were arrested moments later in the 1100 block of Davie St by a police patrol unit.
Charged with assault causing bodily harm are Alexandre Tchernychev, 21, and Aaron Alexander Hahn, 21, both from Vancouver. Neither man has any previous criminal convictions.
Both remain in custody.
The attack comes on the same day as arrests were announced in the Keefer Place gaybashing.
Peter Regier and his partner David Holtzman were attacked outside their home on June 12.
When told of the Canada Day assault, Regier asked what happened to the extra police presence VPD Chief Jim Chu had promised in the Davie Village.
“Obviously it didn’t help,” he says.
Mayor Gregor Robertson, in a June 14 statement, said a strong stand must be taken against such assaults.
Lesbian city councillor Ellen Woodsworth says it needs to go further. She wants to see the mayor and the police chief meet with business, church, mosque, temple and synagogue leaders to denounce homophobia and call for zero tolerance of gaybashings.
“These outrageous attacks on Davie St have been going on for years and don’t seem to have stopped,” she says.
She says more education on tolerance is needed and the courts must “use the full authority of the law” to denounce such crimes.
Regier expressed his support for the victim of the Canada Day attack.
“We urge the VPD to pursue this new hate crime just as vigorously as they did our own,” he says.
He also called on the community “to demand continuing police protection and support, as well as the vigorous and relentless prosecution by the BC Attorney General of the criminal offenders in all hate crime cases.”
McGuinness asks anyone with information about the new incident to call the police robbery/assault squad at 604-717-2541.