Hate crime charge possible in Hamilton; arrest made after bigoted attack on city bus
Published August 3, 2022 at 5:03 pm
A 41-year-old Hamilton man will face at least two charges — including assault — in connection with a hate incident on a city bus earlier this week.
The Hamilton Police (HPS) said this afternoon (Aug. 3) that its hate crime unit has reviewed a video of the incident, and an application will be made to classify the incident as “a Hate Crime offence.” The police say this is due to the perception that the victims belong to an identified group.
On Tuesday, a third party in another province alerted Hamilton Police (HPS) of a video where a man record himself making violent threats that included homophobic, transphobic, and ableist slurs directed at two individuals on a Hamilton bus. At one point he held his fist up next to the face of one of the targets and made violent threats.
The incident is believed to have taken place on Monday (Aug. 1) on a Hamilton Street Railway bus in the area of Gage Park at the Lawrence Road entrance. The male exited the bus at Gage Park on Lawrence Road.
“A hate crime is a criminal offence committed against a person or property which is motivated by hate/bias or prejudice based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or any other similar factor,” HPS said in a media release.
After sharing the video publicly in an appeal for witnesses, and investigating further, HPS arrested Christopher Pretula of Hamilton. He is charged with with assault and uttering a threat.
The police add that they encouraged any additional witnesses who were riding the bus and recorded the verbal abuse to come forward. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Division 2 Criminal Investigation Division (905-546-2930).
“Hate crime in Hamilton is not acceptable,” HPS stated on Wednesday. “Left unchecked, hate crime can have a far reaching impact on communities.”
Information may also be shared anonymously through Crime Stoppers (1-800-222-8477; crimestoppershamilton.com).insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising