Edmonton police say four people have been charged with separate attacks on people of colour across the city.
A 34-year-old man faces two counts of assault after a South Asian man wearing a turban was followed, spat on, threatened and had racial comments yelled at him in February.
A 17-year-old male also faces two counts of assault after a Black worker and a southeast Asian worker were spat on and received racial comments at a restaurant drive-thru in March.
Police say a 39-year-old male, who has since died, had been facing charges after a gun was pointed at a Black woman and a man who were walking with their child in a stroller in April.
And a 46-year-old man is charged with various offences after three attacks on Black men last month.
The Hate Crimes and Violent Extremism Unit says in a release that it is recommending the court consider a section of the Criminal Code that calls for increased sentencing if it finds the four accused guilty and motivated by hate.
It says 23 hate-motivated crimes were reported to police between January and March. Last year, police investigated 13 hate crimes in that same time frame.
"With the increase in numbers, our plan is to facilitate more awareness when possible, as we want citizens to know that this behaviour will not be tolerated,” police spokesman Sgt. Gary Willits said in the statement.
"It is critically important that the public report any and all instances of hate, and we are very thankful to those who came forward as witnesses in these files. We want our diverse communities to know they are valued, and we take these reports very seriously."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2022.
The Canadian Press