Delta Police have launched a mischief and hate crime investigation into Wednesday's vandalism outside Ladner United Church.
As first reported by the Optimist on May 31, an unknown person(s) threw black paint, with a specific concentration of paint on the windows directly in front of displayed Progress and Pride flags.
In a news release issued Thursday afternoon, Delta Police said, “these flags are symbolic representations of the 2SLGBTQI+ community and their allies and serve as a source of identity and support for many individuals. Defacing or damaging these flags is illegal, disrespectful, and deeply hurtful to the 2SLGBTQI+ community. In this instance, it is not only mischief, it is also being investigated as a hate crime against both the church hosting the flag and the broader 2SLGBTQI+ community.
“Since the pride flag represents the 2SLGBTQI+ community, damaging the flag can be seen as an act of hatred or discrimination against that community. By classifying such acts as hate crimes, Canadian law recognizes the importance of protecting marginalized groups and fostering a society that values diversity and inclusion.”
Police Chief Neil Dubord went onto add, “Pride flags wave as symbols of acceptance, equality, and freedom, standing strong against any attempts to diminish our spirit or divide our community.”
During the past two and a half years, Ladner United Church has experienced five incidents that were reported to police. Each of these previous incidents underwent thorough investigations; however, no suspects were successfully identified.
If you have any information regarding the damage that occurred on May 31, or regarding any previous mischiefs and hate crimes that occurred at the same location, contact police at 604-946-4411 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8247).