Attack on woman at Calgary bus shelter being treated as hate crime, police say

CALGARY — Police say a 36-year-old man is facing assault charges after an alleged hate-motivated attack earlier this year at a Calgary bus shelter.

They say a woman was standing at the bus shelter on Jan. 13 when a man slapped her phone out of her grasp before biting her hand and yelling racist slurs at her.

They say three bystanders helped the woman to safety and called police.

Once on scene, police say officers found a suspect and took him into custody.

Police say in a news release that the case is being treated as hate motivated.

They say hate motivation does not result in additional charges, but any evidence of it is considered by the courts after a person is found guilty.

"If the judge decides during sentencing that hate was a motivation for the offence, it is an aggravating factor that can add to the convicted person’s sentence," Calgary police said in a news release Thursday.

Const. Matt Messenger from the police service's Hate Crimes Prevention Unit said such crimes are under reported.

"Everyone has the right to feel safe in their community. There is no place for hate in our city and we want to thank the bystanders for coming to the aid of the victim," he said in the release.

"(We) want to remind all Calgarians to report these (types of) incidents so they can be thoroughly investigated and those responsible can be held accountable."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2023.

The Canadian Press