Hate Crime Probe: Edmonton Police Seek Suspects in Pride Flag Vandalism

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On Wednesday, law enforcement authorities in Edmonton set out in search of two individuals in connection to a hate-driven act of vandalism at the local 1MillionMarch4Children demonstration the previous week. The suspects are believed to have taken part in the defilement of a large Pride flag draping the exterior of the Alberta Teachers’ Association building.

The flag was found torn and discarded on the ground while hundreds gathered by the edifice located in west Edmonton to voice their opinions, both in protest and counter-protest, on sexual orientation and gender identity education in the Canadian school system.

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In a statement, police relayed that their Hate Crimes Unit extended its assistance to frontline officers during the protest and are now engaged in aiding the ongoing investigation. Cheryl Voordenhout, spokesperson for the Edmonton Police Service, explained that, “Surveillance footage showed two unidentified males in the parkade at the time of the protests. In the hope that someone can identify these suspects, we are sharing their images.”

Jason Schilling, President of the ATA, expressed his deep distress over the actions of the protesters. He particularly noted a group of individuals who “stole and then destroyed” the flag. “This hostile act was deeply disturbing. We are pleased that law enforcement are considering this incident as potentially motivated by hate,” he stated.

Schilling also shared his solidarity with affected members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. “Our thoughts and support go out to those impacted by these deplorable actions. We are coordinating fully with the police in their investigation.”

While those backing the protest refuted any hate-based motivation, Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi condemned the events as steeped in “discrimination,” “hatred,” and “bigotry.” He listed the participants’ claims of “protecting our children” as a subterfuge that would in reality cause significant distress to the 2SLGBTQIA+ youth, their families, and supporters.

Sohi’s statement, issued on September 19th, further stressed that “Every individual, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserves respect, dignity, and the right to their identity.”

The police department has put out a call to anyone who can help identify the suspects, requesting that they contact EPS at 780-423-4567 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or submit information online.