Racism suspected in random, violent attack on man in central Edmonton: police

Click to play video: 'Racism suspected in random, violent attack on man in central Edmonton'
Racism suspected in random, violent attack on man in central Edmonton
Edmonton police said a man was walking in the Alberta Avenue area, when another man reportedly yelled a racial slur, crossed the street and began to beat the victim. Sarah Komadina reports – Feb 8, 2022

A man is recovering from a violent daytime assault that happened late last month, which the Edmonton Police Service believes was motivated by hate.

It happened on Wednesday, Jan. 26, around 2:30 p.m., north of the downtown core in the Alberta Avenue area.

Edmonton police said the the victim, a Black man, was walking north along 95 Street near 114 Avenue when another unknown man reportedly yelled a racial slur at him from across the street.

“It was reported that the suspect then ran across the street and punched the complainant until he fell to the ground, at which point the suspect began kicking him,” a news release issued Tuesday said.

Police said the victim briefly lost consciousness before waking up and walking a few blocks to the nearby Royal Alexandra Hospital, where officers met him.

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Read more: ‘I still can’t believe that is the Alberta I grew up in’: Muslim Canadian shocked by racist attacks

The man was treated for serious but non-life threatening injuries, police said, adding since the attack he has been receiving support from the EPS Crime and Trauma-Informed Support Services and Community Relations Section.

It’s the latest in what appears to be a string of similar hateful assaults in the last few years in the Edmonton region.

A man is facing charges after an alleged attack on a Muslim woman near the Al Ameen Mosque. on Jan. 1. The National Council of Canadian Muslims said a man spat on a the woman’s car window, punched it several times, uttered threats and damaged mosque property before returning to the scene with a shovel.

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It allegedly happened while the woman’s children were inside the car, the organization said.

Read more: New report identifies 7 extremist groups of threat to Alberta, offers recommendations to combat hate

Click to play video: 'Muslim woman attacked outside northeast Edmonton mosque'
Muslim woman attacked outside northeast Edmonton mosque

Other attacks in Edmonton over the past two years include a vicious assault on a mother and daughter in the Southgate Centre mall parking lot, an encounter in which a man threatened to tear off a woman’s burqa and kill her and an attack by a masked man wielding a knife at two sisters in their 20s wearing hijabs.

Read more: Why are Alberta’s Black, Muslim women being attacked?

Last spring, a family was also the target of road rage. Edmonton police said a man made profane gestures to a woman wearing a hijab who was in the front passenger seat of a different vehicle.

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Police said the man also caused a minor collision between their vehicles and allegedly uttered religious slurs at the family.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton police investigate alleged racially motivated road rage incident'
Edmonton police investigate alleged racially motivated road rage incident

The attacks over the past two years have left many minorities feeling anxious and unsafe — it got so bad, the Al Rashid Mosque in Edmonton began offering Muslim women self-defence lessons.

Premier Jason Kenney addressed the issue last summer, when the province announced a program intended to protect vulnerable residents from hate crimes.

The Alberta Security Infrastructure Program provides grants to religious and ethnic organizations that are at risk of being targeted by hate-inspired violence or vandalism: including places of worship, temples, synagogues, gurdwaras, community centres such as Indigenous friendship centres, ceremonial facilities and monuments.

The funding was intended to help with security assessments and training, as well as for buying and installing security features like alarms, gates, motion detectors and monitoring systems.

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Read more: Alberta to launch security grant to protect religious, cultural organizations from hate crimes

Edmonton police said investigators are still working with the victim of the latest incident to try to identify a suspect.

To aid in that process, police are looking to speak to anyone who may have witnessed the attack or who has dashcam footage from the area on the day it happened.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Edmonton Police Service at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone.

Anonymous information can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.

Read more: ‘Racism is a real problem’: Muslim women fearful following attacks in Edmonton

— With files from Daniela Germano, The Canadian Press

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