Police looking for man after alleged hate-motivated assault at Toronto subway station

Toronto police are looking for a suspect after an alleged hate-motivated assault at a downtown subway station on Wednesday.

Police said officers were called to Bloor-Yonge station around 8:30 a.m. after a man allegedly struck a person wearing a religious head covering, which then fell to the ground.

"The man made derogatory comments towards the victim and left the area," police said.

They are investigating the incident as a suspected hate-motivated assault.

Toronto police Const. Shannon Whitehead said in a separate statement Thursday the victim was a 27-year-old man, but she didn't confirm his religious affiliation.

Police say the investigation is ongoing and are asking anyone with information to contact them.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said on Twitter the transit system and city should be safe for everyone.

"Hateful acts like this are totally unacceptable," he said.

"Hate has no place in our city. We must all call out and stand together against discrimination and violence."

The Toronto Transit Commission said in a statement on Wednesday it was helping the police with the investigation.

"The TTC condemns in the strongest possible terms this incident," the agency said on Twitter.

"The safety of customers and employees is paramount to all we do. This includes being safe from violence related to bigotry, racism, sexism or any other assault motivated by hate."

Wednesday's assault is the latest in a string of violent incidents on Toronto's public transit system.

Police said last week they were investigating after a group of up to 10 girls allegedly assaulted several people at five downtown subway stations randomly on Dec.17 between 10 p.m. and midnight.

Last month, police laid several charges against a woman after six people were allegedly assaulted in a spree of random attacks on Dec. 19 on a streetcar, subway platforms and trains – five were allegedly struck with a glass bottle.

Earlier in December, a woman was stabbed to death and another was wounded in a random attack on a subway train. Police have charged a man with first-degree murder and attempted murder.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2023.

Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press