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Vancouver man’s leg broken in confrontation with anti-gay street preachers: police

Click to play video: 'Video shows aftermath of confrontation involving anti-gay street preachers in Vancouver' Video shows aftermath of confrontation involving anti-gay street preachers in Vancouver
Video shows aftermath of confrontation involving anti-gay street preachers in Vancouver โ€“ Aug 23, 2020

Vancouver police are recommending charges of aggravated assault after a confrontation downtown Saturday that left a man with a broken leg.

In a series of tweets, Sportsnet 650 host Justin Morissette said he “stood up to anti-gay evangelical bullies in the West End … and they purposely broke my leg for the trouble.

“I don’t know why I did this, it felt like the right thing to do and no one else would.”

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Vancouver police said they were called to Davie and Thurlow streets in the heart of the city’s historically gay village, around 8 p.m., where “a group of people using a microphone and amplifier were preaching about religion and anti-gay chants.”

According to police, one person approached the group and asked them to stop, prompting “a disturbance.”

“The individual is suspected to have been thrown to the ground, where they unfortunately broke their leg,” said VPD Sgt. Aaron Roed in an email.

Read more: Another alleged victim of homophobic SkyTrain incident comes forward

Police arrested two men from the group, which was preaching on the street.

Police are recommending charges and say their hate crime unit is also investigating the matter.

Morissette said he’s been told he will have now permanent metal plates in his leg.

Read more: City calls for help identifying key people and moments in Vancouver’s LGBTQ2 history

“I’m only tweeting about this because there have been too many instances of unchecked racism and during the pandemic videos of people spewing hate while everyone just sits there and ignores it,” he wrote.

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“Do not allow yourself to do that.”

Other videos posted to social media show what appears to be the same group preaching at English Bay earlier in the day. Vancouver police were on scene, keeping the peace between the group and angry beach-goers.

Morisette’s Twitter thread drew responses from hundreds of people, several of whom said the preachers had become a regular and aggressive nuisance in the area.

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Police say the altercation drew a large crowd and officers are interviewing witnesses.

The VPD is appealing for any other witnesses to the altercation to come forward.

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