Calgary

Youth was beaten unconscious because he's gay, say police

Calgary police believe a teen who was beaten unconscious by a group of young men in the summer was attacked because he is gay, and they are now asking the public for help in identifying the attackers.

Public help sought in identifying group of 4 to 6 attackers

Calgary police are asking the public for help in identifying a group of teens and young adults believed to have beaten a male youth unconscious in an attack motivated by the victim's sexual orientation. (CBC)

Calgary police believe a teen who was beaten unconscious by a group of young men in the summer was attacked because he is gay, and they are now asking the public for help in identifying the attackers.

The attack happened in early-morning hours of Aug. 14.

Sgt. Eric Levesque, the hate-crimes co-ordinator with the Calgary police, says the victim was at a house party in the northwest prior to the incident.

The suspects were also at the party and had been asked to leave when the party broke up.

The victim was approached by the group of four to six males, believed to be between the ages of 15 and 20, while making his way home.

The group then assaulted him, according to police, leaving him unconscious on the ground. The victim was treated at hospital and released.

"We believe it to be hate-motivated based on a number of factors," said Levesque, without going into details. 

He says police consider a number of things when making a determination that an incident was motivated by hate.

"Looking at this case, I believe that hate-motivation played a significant role in what happened," he said

'Handful' of assaults each year

There are approximately 50 to 60 hate-motivated incidents in Calgary each year, the majority of which are mischief — including graffiti — but a "handful" are assaults based on someone's sexual orientation.

"In a city of 1.2 million people, if you look at all the incidents that come to police attention in a year, it's actually a very small number," said Levesque. "But in terms of the impact on the community, it's still too many. These types of offences are very impactful on the victim because they're very personal."

Levesque says it has broader social implications beyond the impact on the victim and the communities to which they belong.

"It creates discord and it kind of pulls at that fabric of our multicultural society, right. So nothing good comes from these types of offences."

Suspects at large

The group of attackers is described as including both white and black male youths.

Levesque says it can be difficult to track down suspects in cases like this because it often involves strangers who lash out for no reason other than hatred. 

Anyone with information about the attack is asked to call police at 403-266-1234 or to contact Crime Stoppers anonymously.

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