Police make arrest and say assault wasn't a hate crime
Published Saturday, April 24, 2010 5:07PM MDT
A 14-year-old boy is facing charges in connection to an attack last weekend, and police Chief Mike Boyd says, despite suspicions, investigators have concluded the assault on a 31-year-old woman was not a hate crime.
Police made the announcement Saturday afternoon, saying after conducting numerous interviews with witnesses and persons of interest the hate crime unit concluded that while an assault occurred it was not a hate crime.
Investigators say they have confirmed the incident was random and that the victim was not specifically targeted.
"I was to offer my apology to the victim and I also want my apology on behalf of the Edmonton Police Service to our wider minority community," said Chief Mike Boyd.
Police have arrested a 14-year-old boy in connection to the attack which took place on April 17th near 76th Avenye and 96th Street.
Shannon Barry, the 31-year-old woman who was attacked, claims she was targeted because she is a lesbian. Barry and a group of friends were walking home from the bar in south Edmonton on Saturday when she says a group of men started making homophobic slurs, calling them "dykes" and "faggots."
When told that the Edmonton Police Service is no longer defining the crime as a hate crime Barry said doesn't agree. She wonders if police would have taken the same stance if the suspects had shouted racial slurs instead of homophobic ones.
"Obviously the incident was random, but that doesn't change the fact that they called me a faggot and kicked my in the face," said Barry. "Maybe I don't understand how to define hate crimes, but to me that speaks loud and clear.
Following the attack Barry also raised concerns about the way the investigation into her assault was handled. At the time investigators admitted a report wasn't submitted until noon Thursday, five days after the attack occurred, but police are now saying this was an administrative error.
"The error in judgment by the responding officer was a mistake and he is genuinely remorseful for that mistake," said Boyd.
Police say the officer did not enter the information properly so it didn't appear when Barry called police to inquire about the investigation.
The name of the suspect cannot be released under The Youth Criminal Justice Act.