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Police make second arrest in connection with violent altercation at Hamilton Pride

Hamilton police have made a second arrest related to a disturbance at the city's Pride celebration at Gage Park on June 15.
Hamilton police have made a second arrest related to a disturbance at the city's Pride celebration at Gage Park on June 15. Will Erskine / Global News

Police say a second person, allegedly connected with an altercation during Hamilton Pride, has been arrested.

“A person turned themselves into police as a result of breaching conditions of a court order,” police spokesperson Jackie Penman told Global News on Tuesday.

“The 32-year-old male was arrested and released on a promise to appear.”

Penman went on to say the individual is expected to appear in court on July 23.

READ MORE: Police report ‘minor injuries’ after altercation between two groups near Hamilton Pride Event

The arrest is the second in relation to a disturbance at the city’s Pride celebration at Gage Park. In a statement, police said that following the dust-up on June 15, they “responded to reports of a large disturbance between two opposing groups at the Gage Park Pride Festival.”

They went on to say the scuffle happened “in the middle of the park away from the main festivities,” and that officers dealt with a disturbance involving a number of people “engaged in a physical confrontation where several individuals received minor injuries.”

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Investigators have recently been searching through video from the event and going through witness statements which have led to the identifying of several persons of interest.

On Saturday, Hamilton police said 33-year-old Cedar Hopperton was arrested in relation “to the events that took place at the Pride Hamilton celebration.”

Investigators say Hopperton was picked up for parole violations after allegedly “participating in a public demonstration where peace was disrupted.”

READ MORE: Hamilton resident arrested in Locke Street vandalism case

Hopperton is known by police for a connection with the Locke Street vandalism spree on March 3, 2018, and was described in court as being a “ringleader” of the incident. Hopperton is on parole after serving a sentence, pleading guilty last November to mischief over $5,000.

A post from The Tower, a local anarchist social space, disputes the validity of the recent arrest, saying Hopperton was not at the Pride festival. The post goes on to say that Hamilton police’s arrest is actually in retaliation to comments made by Hopperton at an LGBTQ2 advisory committee at City Hall, arguing “police are not and should never be part of the queer community.”

Hamilton police and the city have been under fire since the clash at Pride, accused of “holding back” their response when the call came in.

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In a recent interview with Global News Radio, citizen of the year and activist Graham Crawford, who’s a part of the gay community, said he was not only upset at the police “holding back” their response to the altercation, but how the city is “defending” the police’s position.

“I expect a great deal more from my mayor, from my councillors when something like this happens,” said Crawford “When people, who are trying to celebrate who they are, are beaten by interlopers. I also am upset that the police stood back for a little longer than they should have.”

LISTEN: Bill Kelly talks with Citizen of the year and activist Graham Crawford,  a part of the gay community, about the fallout from protests at weekend Pride Celebrations.

 

Meanwhile, Chief Eric Girt defended the force’s response at Pride. In a recent Global News Radio interview, Girt said they did “develop operational plans” for such a situation in advance and the force deployed “additional resources.”

“You’ve got certain groups within that context that are looking for the fight,” said Girt. “When you’ve got just people milling about and there’s no physical altercation, as soon as it turns to a violent act, then the clock starts ticking, to your point, and it seems like an eternity”

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READ MORE: Hamilton Pride celebration will not include police recruitment booth

Girt went on to say that another issue with their response was the fact that organizers wanted police “on the perimeter”, having been declined a recruitment booth for the 2019 event.

“It’s much like Locke Street, I’ll say, where we got criticism and we’d had 30 officers coalesced in eight minutes on a blocked street on a Saturday night,” Girt said. “These things take time to actually drive the distance, coalesce the people.”

Andrea Horwath, Hamilton’s NDP MPP, issued a statement on Tuesday calling for unity amid “rising tensions” in the light of the incident at Hamilton Pride.

“We urge Hamilton City Council and the Hamilton Police Service to work closely with the LGBTQIA2S+ community and other concerned Hamiltonians to develop a response, and a path forward that unifies our city and clearly shows who we are: a community of people that respects, protects and stands up for each other.”

Meanwhile, Mayor Fred Eisenberger expressed his “continued solidarity” with the 2SLGBTQ community and allies in his own statement on Tuesday.

“As I stand with members of our 2SLGBTQ community, I ask that anyone who witnessed the incidents, or who was a victim, to contact Hamilton Police in order for them to collect statements and aid in their ongoing investigation against the violent, hate-fueled attackers at Hamilton PRIDE.”

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Police are still investigating the confrontation at Pride and looking for witnesses to come forward with information. Investigators can be reached at 905-546-2929.

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