Police in Windsor, Ontario, arrested an 18-year-old Windsor man after he vandalized a transgender wellness group - CBC News Reports. Three reports about homophobic and racist destruction, alongside property damage, were filed to Windsor police in February by Trans Wellness Ontario. One incident included a brake drum smashing the front window. "We hope this returns a sense of safety and some peace to the community members who might have felt afraid or concerned by these acts," Trans Wellness Ontario executive director Alexander Reid told CBC News Friday.
The crimes were classified as hate crimes by Windsor police's morality unit, which was in charge of investigating the incidents. Friday, police said in a news release that they had found the suspect. He was arrested just days before and charged with three counts of mischief, under 5,000. Police are still looking into whether there will be charges related to hate-motivated crimes.
When the attacks happened in February, CBC News spoke to the executive director of WE Trans Support, Alexander Reid, who said the LGBT+ community felt scared. "It's upsetting to know people take time out of their day, and they take time to do something that's just an expression of hate and an expression of ignorance," Reid told CBC News.
After the arrests were made, he told CBC he hopes the charges send a message to others that acts of hate won't be tolerated. "I hope it does create some sort of deterrent for future incidents," he said. "We're hopeful that this is an isolated incident."
Also, in February, CBC News spoke to Richard Moon, a law professor at the University of Windsor who specializes in hate speech. Moon told CBC there has been an increase in hateful behaviour in general, especially since the pandemic started.
"The main factors that have perhaps led to an increase in these sorts of incidents, acts are really social media in which it's much easier for hateful views to circulate and for individuals to encourage each other, embolden each other to engage in acts like this or generally just hold hateful views," he said. Moon added that hate crimes might also be fueled by political figures who have expressed views that inspire these kinds of thoughts in others.