Days after a U of A student was allegedly attacked - in an incident the Hate Crimes unit is investigating, police have released more information in an effort to find out who the suspects are.

Police said officers were called at about 9 p.m. Thursday, to the area of 110 Street and 83 Avenue, after witnesses reported a robbery had taken place.

The victim of the alleged robbery, Chevi Rabbit, 26, spoke with CTV News on Sunday – he said he had been walking in the area alone at the time.

Rabbit, who said he has been openly gay since he was a child, told CTV News three men in a car had started shouting homophobic slurs at him – as they had done previously only days before.

This time, however, Rabbit alleged one of the men got out of the car, Mike Brennan, who witnessed the incident said that’s when he started to realize the situation was about to escalate.

“He got out, and started walking very aggressively in his direction,” Brennan said. “All of a sudden, we realized there was an attack that was going to go down, so the three of us just started running.”

Rabbit said the suspect grabbed him from behind in a headlock and then threw him to the ground.

“It happened really fast,” Rabbit said Sunday. “I just laid on the ground and was quite stunned, like ‘Did this really just happen?’”

Police said several witnesses to the incident came to Rabbitt’s aid, including Brennan – just before the suspect took Rabbit’s iPhone, and then fled the scene in the car.

On Monday, police from the EPS Hate Crimes unit released a description of the vehicle:

  • 2000 Acura 3.2TL
  • Silver
  • With a spoiler

“I’ve always worn makeup and it’s something I’ve always done,” Rabbit said. “I’m a makeup artist, I do it by trade.

“No one’s ever really had a problem with it. It’s part of what I do.”

On Sunday, CTV News also spoke Kristopher Wells, with the EPS Sexual Minorities Liaison Committee, who said the incident is telling – and hurts more than just the immediate victim.

“Hate crimes don’t just target an individual, but they strike fear into an entire community,” Wells said. “That is why we have laws against hate crimes and enhanced provisions against those who commit them.

“What [this incident] demonstrates unfortunately is that we still have a lot of work to do. While we may have legislated equality for gays and lesbians in this country, we still don’t have social equality by any means.

“It’s a sorry statement that this is still happening in the 21st century.”

In the days following the incident, Rabbit said he’s received a number of supportive messages from strangers – and said he won’t let the attack change him.

In his interview Sunday, Rabbit said the incident made him sad and embarrassed at first – but on Monday he said he is looking on the bright side.

“Although something negative happened, the good thing about this is that there are a lot of good people in the world, no matter what.”

Anyone with information that could help police in their investigation is asked to call the Edmonton Police Service non-emergency line at 780-423-4567, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

With files from Brenna Rose