Police allege man, 37, assaulted, uttered ‘racially motivated comments’ at London family

File photo. Matthew Trevithick / 980 CFPL

A 37-year-old man is facing multiple charges, including three counts of assault with a weapon, after police say a family was attacked and had racially motivated comments used against them near a northeast London intersection.

In a statement Monday, police said they were called to the area of Huron Street and Gatewood Place on June 20 for a call that a vehicle had been seen driving recklessly down a residential street in close proximity to a family standing outside.

“An argument ensued between the driver and a family member, which resulted in the driver uttering racially motivated comments towards the family,” police said.

According to police, the driver and passenger of the vehicle exited and approached and threatened civilians in the area while holding a metal bat and a large hunting knife. The pair fled the scene before officers arrived and police say no injuries were sustained.

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Read more: Suspect in London, Ont. attack on Muslim family retains lawyer, returns to court July 29

The identity of the passenger has not yet been determined, but police say further investigation led to the positive identification of the driver.

A 37-year-old London man was taken into custody around 11 p.m. Friday during a bust at an unspecified address in the city with the help of the emergency response unit, police said.

The accused faces three counts of assault with a weapon, and one each of dangerous operation, operation while prohibited and failure to comply with release order. He remains in custody and is slated to appear in court Tuesday.

Police said that while the comments made were racially motivated, there are no specific hate crimes listed in the Criminal Code of Canada.

“When crimes have underlying hate-related motivation, this information is presented during sentencing and will be taken into account during the judicial process,” police said.

No further information has been released about the incident, which isn’t the suspect’s first run-in with police.

Early last year, the same individual was charged with multiple offences, including assault causing bodily harm and assault, after a man suffered non-life-threatening injuries in a violent incident that occurred at an address near Hamilton Road and Rectory Street.

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In July 2019, the man, then 35, was accused of assaulting an OPP officer in Thames Centre and resisting arrest, and in September 2018, he and a 66-year-old man were accused of assaulting two police officers and resisting arrest at a Hume Street address.

It’s unclear how the charges ultimately concluded in court.

Read more: ‘A racist city that pretends it isn’t’ — London, Ont. attack didn’t happen in vacuum, residents say

The most recent incident comes three weeks after a London man was arrested and charged with targeting and killing a Muslim family with his truck in the city’s west end.

The accused, 20, faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in the act which prosecutors say was an act of terrorism motivated by hate against the Islamic faith.

— With files from Matthew Trevithick

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