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Calgary police investigate COVID-19 threats to local business, Indigenous populations

Click to play video 'Calgary police investigate racist threats related to COVID-19' Calgary police investigate racist threats related to COVID-19
WATCH: Calgary police are seeing multiple cases of racist threats motivated by COVID-19. Cami Kepke reports. – Apr 1, 2020

Calgary police are investigating two threats related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In a news release on Wednesday, police said one of the threats was made against a Calgary-based Chinese restaurant.

On March 14, the restaurant received an anonymous threat believed to be motivated by the current pandemic, police said. A suspect has been identified but no charges have been laid.

READ MORE: Most Canadians support punishing those not following coronavirus rules: poll

“It is unacceptable that some members of our community are weaponizing this pandemic to make others feel even more vulnerable than everyone already does.

“We won’t ignore it,” Const. Craig Collins, the hate crimes coordinator with CPS, said in a news release on Wednesday.

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In the second case, a man allegedly commented on an Indigenous group’s social media page, threatening to intentionally spread the virus to Indigenous people, police said.

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On March 22, the post was reported to Calgary police by Indigenous elders. Police said charges related to uttering threats have been laid with the help of the Tsuut’ina Nation Police Service and the Blood Tribe Police Service.

READ MORE: ‘We’re very proactive’: Blood Tribe declares state of emergency despite zero confirmed cases of COVID-19

Police said the pandemic has created an uncertain atmosphere, leaving some residents scared for their health and safety.

Collins added that taking advantage of these vulnerabilities would not be tolerated.

“While making a threat towards a stranger may not seem like a big deal to some, it leaves victims shaken and worried that someone is actually out to get them,” Collins said.

“When people are already dealing with the stress of COVID-19, adding more fears and stress can do very real damage to their mental and emotional health.

“It’s unacceptable.”

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Police said it’s taking these threats seriously, noting that a person can still face charges — even if they don’t act on the initial threat.