Published online at GlobalTVEdmonton.com on March 8, 2011.
Linda Hoang, Global News: Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Four men charged in relation with hate crime spree
Police have laid charges against four men in connection with hate crimes that took place along Whyte Ave. last month.
Edmonton Police Service Hate Crimes investigators say that on Feb. 12, the four accused were handing out flyers at Churchill LRT station to strangers about a white supremacist group.
LRT security forced the group out at the University of Alberta station around 8 p.m. but the men continued to hand out more flyers, posting them on poles and pedestals, as they walked east down Whyte Ave.
Police say the group walked into a bar at 103 Street and 82 Avenue and allegedly began making racist and hateful comments towards patrons about race and sexual orientation.
Around 12:30 a.m. the group went to a second business at Gateway Blvd. and 81 Avenue. and began allegedly intimidating a 25-year-old man with racial comments.
Police say the group also punched the man several times before heading to another business along on Whyte Ave., firing off more racial comments.
A 20-year-old woman inside the third business was allegedly assaulted and punched in the face several times. When a 23-year-old man came to help the woman, he was also allegedly assaulted.
All three people allegedly assaulted did not have life-threatening injuries.
Police say the group left the area but were identified by Whyte Ave. patrol officers who were investigating the first assault.
The Hate Crimes Unit was called in and took over both investigations where they identified several witnesses along with a total of five complainants.
A three-week long investigation resulted in the arrest of all four men accused on March 3. and several charges were laid.
“This whole thing is very disturbing. When you start talking to some of the victims and witnesses, they were very upset about the whole thing,” said acting Insp. Darren Derko of the EPS Organized Crime Branch.
“We believe and support freedom of speech and expression but not when incidences become criminal and start to affect quality of life for people living and working in Edmonton,” said Supt. Ken MacKay.
James Andrew Brooks, 25 is charged with two counts of criminal harassment, two counts of assault, assault with a weapon, mischief, cause disturbance, and possession of a weapon.
David Roger Goodman, 18 is charged with two counts of criminal harassment, two counts of assault, mischief, cause disturbance, and utter threats.
Jason Anthony Anderson, 32 is charged with two counts of criminal harassment, two counts of assault, mischief, and cause disturbance.
Keith Virgil Decu, 32 is charged with criminal harassment, mischief, cause disturbance and assault.
All four accused were released with multiple conditions and the Hate Crimes Unit will continue to monitor the accused group.
The next court date for all of the accused is March 17.