A former police officer in Halifax says the attack of a homeless man in broad daylight in one of the city's parks is not entirely surprising.
"A lot of people tend to dehumanize our clients. They don't necessarily see them as a person first and if it's not a person then it's easier to commit a crime against them," said Don Spicer, a retired policeman who now works with homeless people through his job as executive director of Shelter Nova Scotia.
A 24-year-old Halifax man is facing charges after he allegedly made disparaging remarks about a homeless man and then repeatedly punched him in the face.
Halifax Regional Police say the 61-year-old victim sat defenceless when he was attacked around 3 p.m. on Wednesday in Victoria Park, which is at the intersection of South Park Street and Spring Garden Road.
Const. Pierre Bourdages said it was fortunate bystanders intervened.
"In this case we have a Good Samaritan that actually intervened and stopped the attack," he said.
"We have several people that called 911 as well, which allowed officers to be on scene very quickly."
The suspect ran away and police found him nearby. He refused to obey police and officers had to use force to arrest him, said police.
The homeless man was treated by paramedics for injuries to his face.
The 24-year-old man is facing charges of assault, causing a disturbance, resisting arrest and two breaches of a court order. He was released from custody and will appear in Halifax provincial court at a later date.
The attack comes eight months after the high-profile death of Harley Lawrence, the homeless man whose body was found in a burned-out bus shelter in Berwick, N.S.
Two men, Daniel Wayne Surette and Kyle David James Fredericks, have been charged with first-degree murder. They are due back in court next month to set preliminary inquiry dates.