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Terrebonne attack:"Don't forget the hate factor" Coalition tells prosecutors

By Joel Ceausu The Suburban

The Red Coalition (RC) anti-racism lobby group wants prosecutors to consider hate as a motivating factor in pursuing charges against a suspect in a horrific incident in Terrebonne. On the evening of November 21, a masked man allegedly attacked four young black women who were in a parked vehicle belonging to one of them, in front of one of their residences.
  • According to the victims, the man knocked on the front passenger side window of the vehicle where one of them sat, hurling racial slurs, calling them “ns” and “street gangs”, telling them to “go back where they came from.” The man then allegedly brandished an axe and knife, telling them to leave his neighborhood or he was going to kill them and proceeded to smash a car window with the axe before the victims drove off. One of them, 18-year-old Destiny Barthold, suffered a cut on her wrist. The man was reportedly seen returning to a home in the neighbourhood after the incident.
A 51-year-old white male was arrested more than three weeks later, and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, death threats and mischief. “We believe that the acts perpetrated against the victims go beyond the alleged accusations which were submitted by the Terrebonne police to the prosecutor,” says the RC, adding that “the crimes perpetrated by their attacker on November 21 were motivated by hatred and prejudice against black people.”
The families of the victims say they felt police didn’t believe their story, but Terrebonne Police have insisted they conducted a proper investigation. The group also notes the victims weren’t re-contacted by police for more than a week following the attack and call to 911, RC director Alain Babineau stating that no investigator was appointed to the case until about three weeks after the incident and then after the RC intervention, asking if one could imagine a scenario where four white girls were attacked by a black man with an axe, knew where he was hiding and there was no reaction or follow-up. Meanwhile, he says, the victims are living in fear.
“According to Stats Can., between 2019 and 2020, the number of racial/ethnic hate crimes reported by police increased by 80%,” says the RC, “with much of this increase resulting from higher number of hate crimes reported by police targeting the black population… Although we have not seen the file submitted by the Terrebonne police to the office of the prosecutor in this case, we want to make sure that the racial aspect of this crime is not forgotten or hidden,” says RC executive director Joel DeBellefeuille.
The Red Coalition requests that the Crown consider the offences as hate motivated. “We want to ensure that if the suspect is eventually convicted of a criminal offence and it is proven that it was motivated by hatred or prejudice, heavier sentences may be imposed on him by the judge during sentencing to signal the seriousness of the hateful aspect of the acts committed.”
The RC has been mandated by the victims to file ethics complaints against the police over their handling of the file, and to file suit against the alleged aggressor at the Quebec Human Rights Commission and in civil court.

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