A 50-year-old Vancouver man has been charged in an alleged hate-crime attack on an elderly Asian man in Vancouver earlier this year.
One count of assault was sworn against Jamie Allen Bezanson on July 21, in connection with the March 13 incident in East Vancouver.
Surveillance cameras from the 7-Eleven on East 1st Avenue at Nanaimo Street captured the suspected hate crime.
Police say the 92-year-old victim, who suffers from severe dementia, had wandered into the convenience store. Staff were trying to assist the senior when the suspect began yelling racist remarks at him, including comments about COVID-19.
The suspect is then seen grabbing the elderly man’s arm and leading him outside, where he allegedly shoved the victim — causing him to fall and hit his head on the pavement.
The suspect is seen propping the senior up to a sitting position before going back inside the convenience store. Police say he fled before officers arrived.
A suspect in the alleged racially motivated attack was identified hours after the surveillance video was released on April 22. In late June, the Vancouver Police Department confirmed investigators had recommended a charge of assault to Crown counsel.
On July 17, Vancouver police reported that hate-related incidents were still occurring at a higher than normal rate during the COVID-19 pandemic — including those targeting Vancouver’s Asian communities.
The department said it has identified 155 hate-associated reports so far in 2020, up from 69 for the same period last year.
Bezanson is set to make an appearance in Vancouver Provincial court on Aug. 10.
– With files from Amy Judd