Edmonton police said they are attempting to identify a suspect after a woman was allegedly threatened on the southside of the city earlier this month.
It’s alleged a man made threats against a Black Muslim woman wearing a hijab at the Century Park LRT Station on Feb. 17. The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) said the woman was waiting at the station when a man approached her, flailing his arms, gestured with his fist, swore at her and allegedly threatened to physically assault and kill her.
According to NCCM, the woman said she “felt helpless and afraid for my life.”
Police said surveillance images of the suspect are being circulated amongst police in an effort to identify him.
The NCCM said the woman “was not given the support” she needed after contacting police, and she eventually reached out to Edmonton city council.
On Saturday, police said an audit was conducted of the woman’s call to the police service’s complaint line following “several serious allegations” by her, including that the operator was dismissive, laughed at her and dissuaded the woman from formerly filing a complaint.
Police said the audit determined the operator’s conduct was “professional and empathetic.”
“The evaluator established a positive rapport with the caller and genuinely conveyed concern for the individual,” Edmonton police communications advisor Scott Pattison said. “The evaluator reassured the caller that police take these types of incidents very seriously.”
Pattison said the woman was appreciative and thanked the operator at the end of the call.
“The caller specifically noted that she was happy with the information and did not feel the need to pursue charges.”
The Feb. 17 incident was the fifth time Edmonton police were called to investigate similar attacks against Black women wearing hijabs in three months.
In early December, two Somali women wearing hijabs were attacked outside a south Edmonton shopping centre in what police said was a “hate-motivated incident.”
A man punched their car window, then both women were pushed to the ground, and one was assaulted, EPS said.
Later in December, a 23-year-old Black woman wearing a hijab entered the southeast doors of the Southgate LRT station when she was approached by a woman she didn’t know. Without being provoked, police said the suspect allegedly tried to hit the woman in the head with a shopping bag while yelling “racially-motivated obscenities at her.”
On Feb. 3, two separate “hate-motivated” events occurred.
A woman wearing a hijab was waiting inside the University of Alberta transit centre and was approached by a man she didn’t know. Police said he made racial comments and became more aggressive toward the 19-year-old, “posturing as though he was about to assault her.”
Then, a woman wearing a burka was walking on the sidewalk in the area of 100 Street and 82 Avenue when she was approached by an unknown man who stopped her, yelled and swore at her, then pushed her to the ground.
— Files from Global News reporter Emily Mertz