Ottawa

Police arrest man in connection to defaced Indigenous mural

Ottawa police's hate crime unit has charged a man in connection with the defacing of an Algonquin College mural featuring First Nations themes.

Hate crime unit charges 32-year-old with mischief over $5K, Ottawa police say

An Indigenous mural at Algonquin College was smeared with paint Jan. 28, 2020. (Algonquin College)

Ottawa police's hate crime unit has charged a man in connection with the defacing of an Algonquin College mural featuring First Nations themes.

Police say the 32-year-old suspect was charged with one count of mischief over $5,000. He was arrested at Algonquin College by foot patrol officers Saturday. 

If he is found guilty, police said any possible evidence to support a hateful motivation for the vandalism would be presented during his sentencing hearing.

Police have described the incident as "hate-motivated mischief."

On Tuesday the three-storey, Indigenous mural at the Ottawa college was smeared with yellow paint.

The mural features a moose, a hawk and a giant turtle, a nod to a creation story told by some First Nations that the continent was built on the back of a turtle.

It was created by Toronto-based artists Shalak Attack and Bruno Smoky.

Ron McLester, vice president of truth, reconciliation, and indigenization at the college, called Tuesday's vandalism a "targeted act of violence."

Attack and Smoky are returning to the campus in February to repair damage to the painting, the school said last week. 

Ottawa police announced it had reinstated the hate crime unit only a few days before the mural was damaged.