Surveillance footage released of suspects vandalizing trans and pride crosswalks
Calgary police have released surveillance images of the suspects believed responsible for vandalizing the pride and trans flag crosswalk in two separate incidents, which are being investigated as hate crimes.
The first video was captured about 4:15 a.m. on Aug. 14, and shows a person wearing what looks like a dark blue shirt and a white hard hat set up pylons next to the pride flag crosswalk on Stephen Avenue near Centre Street S. A 'road closed' sign is also placed in front of the crosswalk.
The person then proceeds to paint the word ‘LUST’ overtop. The ‘LOST’ was also painted over the nearby trans flag crosswalk.
Surveillance footage shows a vehicle trying to turn from Centre Street onto Stephen Avenue but being turned away by the signs.
Several taxis and someone out jogging are also seen in the area and police are hoping they will come forward with information.
Another, separate incident captured on surveillance video about 8:20 a.m. on Aug. 18 shows a man defacing the pride flag crosswalk with a message inciting violence against members of the LGBTQ community.
The man was wearing blue jeans, a checkered shirt and a blue jacket. He had a white goatee and a hat, and Collins said those may have been part of a disguise.
The graffiti has been removed and police are investigating the incidents as hate crimes.
Sgt. Craig Collins of the Hate Crimes Unit challenged the suspects to come forward.
"The key message here is we're not going to stand for hate and bias," he said.
"If you have an opinion, instead of being a coward and just doing this under the cover of darkness, stand by your convictions, turn yourself in and come and tell me why you did it. Then we can put your opinion into a court and we'll see how the court feels about it."
There are several cameras positioned in the area, he added.
"I spent nine hours on Thursday canvassing for footage and got plenty," he said.
"If you're thinking of attending that crosswalk to place your mark, smile for the camera because we're going to catch you."
Collins said incidents of hate crimes have been falling across the country, but have remained somewhat steady in Calgary.
If caught, the suspects will likely be charged with criminal mischief to property, said Collins, and if convicted, the hate motivation would be seen as an aggravating factor during sentencing.
Anyone with information is asked to call the police non-emergency line at 403-266-1234 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.