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Calgary police investigate damage to LGBTQ2S+ banner as possible hate motivated crime

Damage and graffiti is seen on a banner welcoming LGBTQ2S+ people on Calgary's Scarboro United Church, in an undated photo. Calgary police are investigating the incident as a possible hate motivated crime. handout / Calgary Police Service

Calgary police are investigating a possible hate motivated crime after a LGBTQ2S+ pride banner hanging on a church was defaced and damaged.

Police say the banner — stating “Welcome” — was damaged some time between 9 p.m. on March 25 and 9 a.m. on March 27.

It was hanging on Scarboro United Church, at 134 Scarboro Avenue S.W. It appeared to have cut marks, burn marks, and had the word “repent” written across it in black marker.

Damage and graffiti is seen on a banner welcoming LGBTQ2S+ people on Calgary’s Scarboro United Church, in an undated photo. Calgary police are investigating the incident as a possible hate motivated crime. handout / Calgary Police Service

“A hate crime is a criminal offence committed against a person or property, which is motivated in whole or part by the suspect’s hate, bias or prejudice towards an identifiable group,” Sgt. Matt Messenger of the CPS Hate Crime and Extremism Team said in a statement.

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“It appears that the damage to the church’s banner and welcoming message to all individuals was motivated towards the LGBTQ2S+ community, and we continue to investigate this incident.”

According to a CPS release, evidence of hate motivation is considered by courts after a guilty verdict is rendered. During sentencing a judge can decide if hate was an aggravating factor and add to a sentence.

Read more: Another racist graffiti incident in Calgary raises concerns among anti-hate experts

Officers spoke with area residents and businesses to see if they had any information about suspicious behaviour around the church between March 25 and March 27, asking them to contact police.

Anyone with information about the incident can call the CPS non-emergency line at 403-266-1234 or contact Crime Stoppers.

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