Kitchener man known as ‘helmet guy’ charged in Hamilton Pride violence released on bail
One of the people arrested in connection with the violence at Hamilton Pride has been released from custody following a bail hearing.
Christopher Vanderweide, 27, of Kitchener, is charged with two counts of assault with a weapon and is alleged to have been among a group of anti-Pride protesters who showed up at Gage Park during Hamilton Pride on June 15.
There were violent clashes between that group and Pride supporters during the event, and video footage of the altercation circulating on social media shows a man resembling Vanderweide wearing an armour-like vest and smashing people in the face with a helmet.
Justice of the Peace Milena Commisso made the decision to grant bail to Vanderweide at a hearing on Thursday, after hearing from lawyer Laura Giordano and crown attorney Warren Milko.
He was released on a surety bond of $1,000 and will live with a friend in Kitchener. He has been ordered not to contact victims and three witnesses, not to possess any weapons, not to visit Hamilton with the exception of court appearances, and may only attend public demonstrations in the company of his surety.
All evidence discussed during Thursday’s bail hearing is covered by a publication ban.
Several of Vanderweide’s friends were in attendance and were seen embracing him and escorting him out of the courthouse following the hearing.
Cedar Hopperton, a local anarchist who was arrested following an anti-police speech at an LGBTQ2 community town hall just days after Hamilton Pride, was also sitting at the back of the courtroom for the first half of the hearing.
Hamilton Police initially said Hopperton — who uses ‘they/them’ pronouns — had been arrested for “parole violations for participating in a public demonstration where peace was disrupted”.
However, an Ontario Parole Board hearing for Hopperton did not focus on whether or not they were involved at the disturbance at Pride, but instead focused on remarks they made during an LGBTQ2 meeting that were critical of how police responded to violence at the event and of police in general.
Three other people have been charged in connection with the violence at Hamilton Pride.
Vanderweide is the only person facing charges who is alleged to have been a part of the anti-Pride group.
His next court appearance will be on August 15 at 9 a.m.
WATCH: (June 28, 2019) Protestors plant signs on Mayor Fred Eisenberger’s front lawn
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