Two Canadians may face charges for their role in what’s being called an anti-gay attack, but not necessarily. 21-year old Mark Edwards claims he had been playing pool at Lake Cowichan’s Riverside Inn when an unidentified schoolmate started calling him “fag” and demanded he leave the establishment. Edwards refused.
Later in the evening, as Edwards smoked a cigarette in his car, a friend asked him to give two other chums a ride home. Edwards agreed until he saw the “friends” were the thug and the thug’s father. Edwards refused to drive them, but the men jumped in his car and proceeded to punch, kick and choke him. “I almost blacked out,” says Edwards.
After lying low for a few weeks, Edwards called the police asking them to investigate the incident as a hate crime:
I have human rights, do I not?. It’s against the law and it’s [cops] job to protect my rights… That’s definitely a hate crime. They were beating me up and threatening to kill me because I’m gay.
Authorities have been dragging their feet, however, and aren’t entirely sure the assault qualifies as a hate crime.
Constable Roger Nyberg of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police explains: “Knowing someone’s gay and calling him names is one thing. Going to the Riverside specifically looking for gays is another.” The earlier exchange, of course, should really tip police off to the attacker’s motives.
Nyberg says he’s put the case forward to the crown counsel, which will determine whether charges will be filed. And, if so, what kind.