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Suspect cites Don Cherry’s firing as part of motive behind Toronto cenotaph vandalism

Click to play video 'Suspect cites Don Cherry’s firing as part of motive behind Old City Hall cenotaph vandalism' Suspect cites Don Cherry’s firing as part of motive behind Old City Hall cenotaph vandalism
WATCH ABOVE: A man was charged with two counts of mischief after Toronto’s Old City Hall cenotaph was vandalized on Tuesday. Global News has identified a post from the suspect’s Facebook account claiming responsibility for the vandalism. Jamie Mauracher reports.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly indicated the suspect mentioned potential motivations for the vandalism during a court appearance.

A suspect accused of spray-painting Toronto‘s Old City Hall cenotaph shortly after Remembrance Day said that Don Cherry’s firing partly motivated the vandalism.

The phrase “Ye broke faith with us” was spray-painted across the front and back of the monument, located at Bay and Queen streets, sometime Tuesday morning, police said.

On Friday, police said Toronto resident Thomas Christian Zaugg, 33, was arrested and charged with two counts of mischief.

READ MORE: Toronto police investigating after Old City Hall cenotaph vandalized day after Remembrance Day

Global News identified a post on Thursday from the suspect’s Facebook account claiming responsibility for the vandalism. Along with the post was a video in which the suspect, speaking to the camera, voices criticism towards various Canadian politicians.

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Among a number of topics, the written post was critical of Don Cherry‘s firing from Hockey Night in Canada, as well as Toronto Mayor John Tory and Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie.

Zaugg appeared in court Friday morning.

The Crown raised concerns regarding Zaugg’s mental health, saying he has schizophrenia.

He is also known to police, the Crown said.

Zaugg was later released on bail after a surety came forward.

In an interview with Global News Radio Friday afternoon, Cherry said he was unaware of the whole case.

Toronto police say they became aware of the vandalism around 7:20 a.m. Tuesday.
Toronto police say they became aware of the vandalism around 7:20 a.m. Tuesday. Global News

The vandalism was an apparent reference to the line, “If ye break faith with us who die,” in the last stanza of John McCrae’s poem, “In Flanders Fields.”

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When the spray-paint was discovered Tuesday, wreaths and poppies were still at the base of the monument from the Remembrance Day ceremony the day before.

The vandalism, which has since been removed, drew wide condemnation, including from Mayor Tory and Premier Doug Ford.

“It’s disgraceful and unacceptable that someone would deface a public monument,” Tory said.

“There’s never any excuse for this kind of vandalism.”

Ford called the incident “disgusting” and “shameful.”

With files from Oriena Vuong and Jamie Mauracher