Hijab torn and woman beaten in racially motivated attack in Prince’s Island Park: Calgary police

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Calgary police have laid charges in relation to a racially motivated hate crime after a woman was beaten and her hijab torn while out for a walk in Prince’s Island Park.

Two women were walking along the pathway in Prince’s Island Park Sunday afternoon when another woman approached them around 1:30 p.m. and became confrontational. When the two women began walking away, the suspect followed them and yelled racial slurs at them, according to Calgary police in a statement on Sunday.

The suspect pushed one of the young women, tore her hijab, punched her face and kicked her in the stomach. A hijab is a headscarf worn by Muslim women. The suspect did not physically hurt the second victim.

Two men who are believed to have been with the suspect at the park came to stop the attack. The two victims fled the area and called 911.

A “Good Samaritan” who is a possible witness to the assault helped the women until police arrived.

Officers found the suspect with the assistance of a HAWCS police helicopter, and she was arrested a short while later.

Bridgette Serverite, 28, is charged with common assault, mischief and causing a public disturbance.

Investigators are looking to speak with the Good Samaritan who stayed with the women and anyone else who witnessed the incident or captured it on video.

“To the young women who had to experience this, no one should be targeted because of their faith. We hope you continue to see how strong you are,” Calgary police said in the statement.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call police at 403-266-1234 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or calgarycrimestoppers.org.

Edmonton police have investigated six hate-motivated attacks against Black Muslim women since December. These attacks have happened in broad daylight and in public spaces, similar to the assault in Calgary.

Calgary police said this incident appears to be separate from the anti-lockdown protests on the weekend. At the protests, officers spotted “offensive messages of intolerance and disrespect,” and released a statement on Sunday evening condemning racism and hate.

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“We echo the sentiments of the community we serve and agree with them that we do not wish to see racist behaviour anywhere, especially in our own city. Hate does not belong here. Hate does not define us,” said the police.

However, the service explained there are limitations on enforcement of hate speech and related symbols because of the Criminal Code of Canada.

Twitter: @BabychStephanie

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