Abbotsford Police call unprovoked attack a ‘hate crime’

A 63-year-old man was struck in the face with a liquor bottle Tuesday night in an unprovoked attack that Abbotsford Police say constitutes a hate crime.

A 63-year-old man was struck in the face with a liquor bottle Tuesday night in an unprovoked attack that Abbotsford Police say constitutes a hate crime.

Const. Ian MacDonald said four Indo-Canadian men were sitting on a bench at about 5:45 p.m. in the area of Old Yale Road and Mitchell Street – near Fishtrap Creek Park – when they were approached by a Caucasian man in his 20s.

MacDonald said the man yelled obscenities and “derogatory ethnic comments.” He then produced either a beer bottle or a liquor bottle and struck one of the men in the face with it, knocking the victim to the ground.

The assailant fled on foot westbound along Dehavilland Drive, and the victim reported the incident to police. He did not require hospitalization, but his face was bruised, MacDonald said.

Police canvassed other people in the area, and some reported having previously heard racial slurs from a person matching the suspect’s description.

“We are of the strong belief that this individual lives in the area,” MacDonald said.

The suspect has not yet been identified, but is described as being in his mid-20s and clean-shaven with short dark-brown hair and a thin build.

He will face charges of assault with a weapon and possible hate-crime offences.

MacDonald said hate crimes are rare and, when they do occur, they tend to take the form of graffiti or vandalism – for example, to vehicles or places of worship.

But an unprovoked violent attack on someone simply socializing with friends is “an act of cowardice,” MacDonald said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Abbotsford Police at 604-859-5225 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.