Police investigating man wearing threatening anti-gay clothing
Police confirmed they are investigating, but a former LGBT police liaison is concerned the message is not being taken seriously
|Report an Error|
Share via Email
Ottawa police confirmed Wednesday they are investigating after a man was photographed at Saunders Farm this past weekend wearing a violent, anti-gay shirt.
“Right now there’s the incident that ignited the attention. From that point on, we’re aware of the situation from Facebook messages as well as people talking about it,” said police spokesperson Chuck Benoit.
“We were made aware of the incident and we are looking into it. There’s an investigation that is proving it and we won’t be able to comment any further because it is under investigation."
Benoit added that officers from different units are involved in the investigation.
“There’s a few people involved involved, but we won’t mention who at this time because we’re not sure which direction it’s going to go,” he said.
Last Saturday an 18-year-old named Julien Clément was photographed wearing a black sweatshirt that read, “ATG If you are gay, don’t approch (sic) me. I’ll kill you.” The shirt was reported to a police officer on the farm and the business owners asked for him to be removed. Clément left before he was asked to leave.
Luke Smith, former Ottawa police LGBT liaison committee co-ordinator, said he was angry after seeing the photograph and wants the force to take it seriously.
“A lot of people in the gay community in Ottawa have seen it are upset by it. It certainly has had a community-wide impact,” he said.
Smith said he was disappointed that the police officer stationed at Saunders Farm treated the incident as a trespassing, rather than a possible threat and hate speech.
“I haven’t had the sense that it was treated as hate propaganda. They haven’t demonstrated much enthusiasm for prosecuting hate crimes in the gay community, at least here in Ottawa,” he said.
At least one private business has also responded to the controversy.
Local skate store Top Of The World released an open letter to the ATG group calling their actions “disgusting and reprehensible” and barring them from the store.
The store responded because the men are wearing many of the brands they sell. The letter also notes that RVCA, a California-based company, is LGBT-friendly and instructs that “you should find another brand to wear.”