(July 15, 2021 / JNS) A Toronto man with a swastika tattoo on his chest was arrested for assault on a Jewish man and ticketed for other offenses aimed at the Jewish community during the past week.
Michael Park, 32, was first arrested on Saturday after police responded to a report of an assault of a 33-year-old man.
Days later, on Tuesday, police were called to Stanley Park “in regards to a man with a swastika tattoo on his chest yelling racial slurs towards an individual.” They identified Park and ticketed him for “interfering with use and enjoyment of the park by others” and using “profane/abusive language.”
An additional charge of assault with a weapon was added after police learned Park allegedly threw an object at the caller who first alerted police to Park’s behavior.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and UJA Federation of Greater Toronto expressed their appreciation for the Toronto Police Service’s response to the most recent anti-Semitic incidents.
“Like all members of society, Jews should be able to walk down the street with confidence in our safety and security. We are grateful for the immediate response of the Toronto Police Service to these incidents,” the two groups said in a joint statement. “Anti-Semitism is a scourge that is quickly spreading throughout Canada and around the world. Over the past few months, Jewish Canadians—already the most targeted religious minority in this country, according to Statistics Canada—have witnessed an alarming rise in hate-motivated harassment, vandalism and assault.”
While neither assault case filed against Park has been officially stated as hate crimes as of yet, the Toronto Police Service explained, “When suspected hate-motivated offenses are reported to police, the investigation will be led by a divisional investigator. The Hate Crime Unit will be made aware and specialized officers from that unit will support the investigation as needed.”
Hate-crimes charges are usually added at a later time, added the police.
These latest incidents come amid a rising tide of anti-Jewish hate in Canada. According to the Toronto Police Service’s annual hate-crime statistic report 2020, “the Jewish community constitutes 3.8 percent of the population in the City of Toronto, but was victimized in approximately 30 percent of the total hate crimes.”
In May alone, B’nai Brith Canada recorded more than 250 incidents of anti-Jewish harassment, vandalism and assaults.
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