Calgary police have confirmed they are investigating an altercation that occurred on Monday as a possible hate crime.
According to CPS, a same-sex couple was walking near 9 Street in Sunnyside when they saw two men and two women on electric scooters headed towards them.
An altercation occurred in which police said a belt, rocks and a recycling bin were used as weapons.
Police put out a call to help identify the suspects, and had located them by Wednesday morning. No charges have been laid yet.
Ahmed, a local business owner, said he wasn’t comfortable revealing his last name for safety reasons, saying he’s been identified on social media and threatened.
He said people have not heard both sides of the story, and that one of the victims knocked his sister-in-law off her scooter, which is what started the fight.
Ahmed admitted that he punched one of the men in the face, but that one of them had wielded a rock, which prompted him to remove his belt in an effort to keep the couple at a distance.
“After that, everybody walked away and there were no serious injuries. We did not know anything about the two individuals, including their sexual orientation.”
The two victims also spoke to Global News, but wanted to remain anonymous because they are scared after the incident.
The couple said that Ahmed and the other man uttered homophobic slurs at them. They ignored them, the couple said, until one of the suspects, who was riding a scooter, came up behind and punched one of them in the back of the head.
They denied hitting one of the women off her scooter and picking up a rock to use as a weapon.
Sgt. Arlene Padnivelan with the Calgary Police Service Diversity Resource team said there is a level of complexity when investigating a hate crime, especially after photos are circulated widely on social media.
“We don’t condone vigilantism. The risk not only goes up for the victim, but also for the accused,” Padnivelan said.
”And, you know, we’ve got to be fair to everyone, right? We just want people to come to the police so we can do a fair investigation.”