Stratford Police are investigating after a series of racist and hateful messages were shared publicly on social media this weekend. The City has also issued a statement condemning racism.
STRATFORD - Stratford Police are investigating a possible hate crime on social media.
Police say a series of messages were posted on various social media sites over the weekend that appear to motivated by hate. The discussion and related messages began to be seen after
a photo of a symbol, which many people associate with racism, was taken and posted on a local social media site.
The Criminal Code of Canada defines a hate crime as communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace and/or by communicating statements, other than in private conversation that willfully promotes hatred against any identifiable group.
Here is a statement from Stratford Police on the matter:
"Hate propaganda (messaging) can be any writing, sign, or visible representation that advocates or promotes hate towards an identifiable group which includes race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation. Hate has a harmful impact on the community with the impacts of such crime being far-reaching, extending beyond the physical and emotional trauma to the victim, to encompass other members of the group and the broader community as a whole. It causes emotional trauma to the identified groups that are victimized, and it results in serious friction between different groups in our society.
This trauma and subsequent friction in our society is easily observed by looking at the world-wide response to the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. Our community is not unaffected by these incidents and we all must work together to find a better way of overcoming hate. The Stratford Police encourages members of our community to report any incidents of hate propaganda, including those that occur on social media. We have a duty to investigate these incidents."
If anyone has concerns about hate-based comments, posts or incidents in the community, please do not hesitate to contact Stratford Police at 519-271-4141.
The City of Stratford also issued a statement about the hate speech this weekend, condemning racism which you can read below: