Police investigate potential hate crime after Confederate flag raised at cemetery

·1 min read

CALGARY — Police in Calgary say they are investigating after a Confederate flag was found flying on a public flagpole in a cemetery.

Officers were sent to Union Cemetery, in the southwest community of Erlton, on Tuesday night after multiple reports about the flag — a common white supremacist symbol.

They arrived to find a concerned citizen had already removed the flag and put it in a garbage can.

Police say they are investigating the occurrence as a potential hate-motivated crime.

They note possession and display of the flag is not in itself a crime, but it is believed that there was another flag on the pole that was removed so the Confederate one could be raised.

Police say an offence can be considered hate-motivated if it is committed while prejudicial views are expressed.

"There are often times where symbols make people in the community feel like they are being targeted for ill-treatment or excluded from society," acting Det. Craig Collins, hate crimes co-ordinator with the Calgary Police Service, said Wednesday.

"While we can’t legally stop people from displaying these symbols, we can address it if people are committing crimes in the process.

"Even if no crime has been committed, we still want this kind of thing to be reported so it can be recorded as a hate incident, both to acknowledge the impact on the community and allow us to monitor any patterns or trends"

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 17, 2021

The Canadian Press