York Regional Police say they have laid charges in a suspected hate-motivated assault against four young adults who were walking home from synagogue in Vaughan last week.
Police said the incident occurred in the area of Bathurst Street and Flamingo Road at around 1:45 p.m. on Jan. 6. According to police, four young adults were walking home from synagogue when they were approached by a suspect on an electric bicycle.
Police said the victims felt intimidated by the way the suspect was operating his bike and an argument ensued in which the suspect allegedly spat at the victims and made antisemitic comments before riding away.
A suspect was identified and arrested the same day.
Police said Tuesday that 34-year-old Kenneth Jeewan Gobin of Vaughan has been charged with two counts of assault and one count of breach of probation.
“York Regional Police takes these matters seriously and is reminding the community we will not tolerate any form of hate crime or the threat of violence against anyone,” YRP said in a statement. “All reports of hate crime or hate/bias incidents will be investigated thoroughly. If you witness or have been the victim of a hate crime or hate/bias incident, we encourage you to report it to police immediately.”
Hate crimes have skyrocketed in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war.
Police said Tuesday that they are taking the incident seriously and urged anyone with information about hate-motivated incidents to come forward.