Hamilton

Christopher Vanderweide, 'helmet guy' charged in Hamilton Pride violence, gets bail

A man shown on violent video from a Hamilton Pride festival appearing to hit people in the face with a helmet is out on bail.

Vanderweide appeared in court wearing a Tupac Shakur sweatshirt

Christopher Vanderweide has been charged with two counts assault with a weapon following a physical confrontation at Hamilton's Pride Festival on June 15. (Rick Boswick/Facebook)

The man who police say used a helmet to attack people during the clashes at the Hamilton Pride festival is out on bail.

Christopher Vanderweide, 27, of Kitchener, is charged with two counts of assault with a weapon. He was released on a $1,000 surety and ordered to live with a friend, not contact the victim and not come to Hamilton except for scheduled court appearances.

Vanderweide has been in the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre since June 26, when he was arrested in connection with the Pride festival ruckus where several people were injured. Vanderweide was with a group of self-appointed street preachers called the Servanthoods, who showed up at the festival with homophobic signs and a loud speaker. Vanderweide's presence in videos posted to social media earned him the nickname "helmet guy." Video of the confrontations shows someone who looks like Vanderweide wearing a chest protector and swinging a helmet, hitting two people in the face.

Vanderweide appeared in court wearing a Tupac Shakur sweatshirt Thursday, which depicted a photo of the deceased rapper and the poem "The Rose That Grew From Concrete." He had a full beard and wore dark pants, and was mostly expressionless inside the prisoner's box. Exceptions were when he smiled at the media at one point, and at his lawyer, Laura Giordano, after Justice of the Peace Milena Commisso granted him bail.

About nine supporters were in the audience, including his surety, Joshua Peyton, a friend who Vanderweide will live with in Kitchener now as part of his bail conditions. Peyton has a crossed hammers tattoo on his neck, which is similar to the logo for the Hammerskins, a white supremacy group. At least two supporters were recognizable from the Pride videos posted to social media.

Vanderweide has been ordered not to contact the victim or three witnesses in the case, not attend public gatherings without his surety, and not possess any weapons. 

 Neither Peyton nor Vanderweide would comment after court.

At Gage Park on June 15, a group of counter-protesters in pink masks used a large portable barrier to block the Servanthoods group from view. Violence broke out and several people were injured.

One counter-protester is charged with assault and two others with violating court orders. Vanderweide is the sole person charged from the Servanthoods group.

Vanderweide was arrested outside his home on June 26. 

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