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Online harassment of Russian-Calgarians prompts police hate crimes unit investigation

A person using a laptop. (Pexels) A person using a laptop. (Pexels)

The Calgary Police Service is investigating multiple reports of online harassment on a social media platform targeting members of the Russian-Calgarian community.

"In the past 48 hours, we have received multiple reports from citizens about what is believed to be hate speech and harassment targeting Russian-Calgarians on a social media platform," police said in a release.

Patrol officers and the hate crimes and extremism team are investigating.

"Hate-motivated crimes have no place in our community and we will not tolerate criminal behaviour associated with hate speech and harassment," said Sgt. Matt Messenger.

"We encourage anyone who believes they have been the victim of a hate crime, or who may have witnessed one, to please come forward and report it to police."

Police say hate-motivated crimes are recognizable "when the offender is motivated by bias, prejudice or hate, that is based on one of nine personal characteristics of the victim; this includes race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, language, mental or physical disability, sex, age, or any other similar factor."

The victim assistance support team (VAST), a free service offered to all victims of crime, is also being utilized. VAST can be reached at 403-428-8398, or toll-free at 1-888-327-7828.

Police also released surveillance photos of a suspect connected to vandalism of a Russian Orthodox Church, where someone scaled a fence and threw red paint on the front doors.

Anyone with information about the online harassment or vandalism is asked to call the non-emergency number at 403-266-1234 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Top Stories

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