Man charged in south London Pride disturbance says he's 'not homophobic'
Richard Sillers is accused of possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose and causing a disturbance
The man at the centre of a hate crime investigation that played out at the Wortley Village Pride festival in south London, Ont., claims the media has it wrong about how events unfolded last Saturday.
Richard Sillers, 37, is charged with possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose and causing a disturbance by shouting. Court documents describe the weapon as a blunt object.
An investigator with the London Police Service is also looking at the incident as a hate crime.
"My family isn't homophobic," Sillers said Tuesday when reached by phone. "You've got some of the truth but you're missing context."
Sillers said he was in the Old South neighbourhood to pick up a friend, and he got out of the vehicle when his truck was surrounded by people taking part in the Pride event. He directed a CBC London reporter to read Rebel News and Druthers for what he called "the truth" of what happened.
Witnesses say Sillers was the driver of a white truck with a Canada flag on the back that circled the Pride event taking place on the Green, and that he continuously blared his horn.
Witnesses said he stopped the vehicle on Wortley Road, exited the vehicle and physically confronted people participating in the event.
London police said their investigation is continuing.
London police Chief Steve Williams condemned the incident, saying there is no tolerance for "acts of intolerance, bias or hate against any member of our community."
Members of the Pride community say they're worried about what could happen at Sunday's city-wide Pride parade and festival in Victoria Park. Police and organizers said there will be beefed-up security, including uniformed and plainclothes police officers, so everyone feels safe.
Sillers will be back in court Aug. 25.