British Columbia’s Attorney General Calls Attack ‘Not a Hate Crime’

An official spokesperson for British Columbia’s government confirmed on Thursday evening that a cabinet minister was involved in an assault outside of the legislature on Wednesday. The Province newspaper reported that Attorney General David Eby, a transgender advocate, sustained facial injuries in the altercation, and while the incident is not believed to be a hate crime, police are still treating it as one. “We can confirm that Mr. Eby was attacked by another man in downtown Vancouver last night,” read a statement from the attorney general’s office. “Mr. Eby was subsequently taken to a local hospital where he was treated for injuries to his face and was released shortly thereafter. There are no reports that there was any further injury to Mr. Eby.” “We are not treating this as a hate crime,” said Sgt. Jason Robillard of the Vancouver Police Department in a statement. “While we believe this was not a hate crime, unfortunately we are investigating it as a criminal assault with serious bodily harm. Mr. Eby has undergone a number of interviews and there were a number of witnesses.” The Ministry of the Attorney General has since removed him from parliamentary duties, and the province’s Anti-Bias Task Force has launched an investigation into the incident. Transgender people in the province face a disproportionate amount of violence, with only nine of the last 89 hate-crimes committed against them committed by those who identify as transgender or gender-queer. There have also been 13 self-harm deaths among those 18-24 years old in the province in the last two years. A statement from BC’s Crime Stoppers said, “criminals deserve swift and serious penalties when they commit crimes that attack LGBT people in B.C.” “At the moment, BC is in a state of high alert,” said David Reid, the executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Community Centre Vancouver. “It was an intentional attack. We hope it stops sooner rather than later and the perpetrator is apprehended.”

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