British Columbia

Man has leg broken in attack after he confronted anti-gay demonstrators in Vancouver

Police have recommended charges of aggravated assault and mischief against two men accused of preaching anti-gay chants after a man who asked them to stop was assaulted in Vancouver's West End on Saturday evening.

Vancouver police say charges recommended against two men accused of preaching anti-gay chants

Vancouver police have forwarded a report to Crown that, if approved, could see the two men charged with aggravated assault and mischief. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Police have recommended charges of aggravated assault and mischief against two men accused of preaching anti-gay chants after a man who asked them to stop was assaulted in Vancouver's West End on Saturday evening.

Hate crime investigators will be examining the file for hate-related information about the incident, according to the Vancouver Police Department on Sunday.

In a written statement, Vancouver police spokesperson Sgt. Aaron Roed said at around 8 p.m. on Saturday officers responded to a disturbance near Davie and Thurlow streets, where a group of people using a microphone and amplifier were preaching about religion and shouting anti-gay chants.

Roed confirmed a man with a broken leg was transported to a local hospital to be treated. 

West Enders take stand

In a tweet, Justin Morissette wrote that he stood up to "anti-gay evangelical bullies." Morisette alleges they purposefully broke his leg following the encounter.

CBC News contacted Morissette, who said he was in immense pain and not ready to talk.

"I'm only tweeting about this because there have been too many instances of unchecked racism and during the pandemic, videos of people spewing hate while everyone just sits there and ignores it. Do not allow yourself to do that. That behaviour is not welcome in our communities," Morissette said in another tweet.

Dan Snyder also tweeted about it.

"I danced beside them today to counteract the hate with love and positivity for two hours with a dozen police there not intervening," Snyder wrote.

A third Twitter user tweeted West End residents have been complaining about an aggressive anti-gay group all summer.

"This group scares and intimidates citizens in their own community," Alexis Sheridan wrote in a tweet.

In their statement, Vancouver police confirmed a man is suspected to have been thrown to the ground and "unfortunately broke their leg" after he had approached and asked the group to stop making anti-gay chants and speaking into a microphone.

Morissette also admitted taking the microphone out of the hands of one of the speakers.

Officers attended the scene and arrested two men for aggravated assault and mischief, Roed said. 

"VPD will not tolerate any type of hate crimes and will investigate all reports of hate crimes or suspected hate crimes that happen in the City of Vancouver," Roed said.

"We want everyone to feel safe and comfortable in their communities and neighbourhoods they visit."

Police say they are continuing to investigate the incident and will be interviewing witnesses that came forward when it happened. Any additional witnesses are being asked to contact police to provide details.

With files from Eva Uguen-Csenge

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