Racism not ruled out as motive in unprovoked tripping of Burnaby, B.C., senior

By Canadian Press

BURNABY, B.C. — Police in Metro Vancouver are searching for a woman who casually approached a senior who was using a walker, tripped her from behind and walked away.

Burnaby RCMP have released video of the April 3 assault that was caught on surveillance cameras mounted at the Metrotown SkyTrain station.

Police say the 84-year-old victim, who is of Asian descent, was shaken but not seriously hurt.

The suspect is described as a woman, possibly Asian, wearing a face mask, a long, dark puffy jacket, dark tights, light shoes and carrying a large, beige purse.

Investigators say there is no immediate indication the case is a hate crime but, based on police reports of an increasing number of anti-Asian crimes in neighbouring Vancouver, they are not ruling out that motive.

A statement says RCMP policies do not permit collection of race or ethnicity data, but it adds that Burnaby Mounties are aware of recent “concerning incidents” targeting members of the city’s Asian community.

Vancouver police said last week that they had investigated 29 anti-Asian hate crimes since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in mid-March, up from four over the same period last year.

Similar acts, ranging from slurs directed at Asian residents to graffiti sprayed on Asian-owned businesses, have been reported in Burnaby, the RCMP statement says.

The officer in charge of the Burnaby detachment says there is no place for such crimes in her city.

“We want every resident of Burnaby to know that our officers are diligently investigating every complaint being made to us,” Chief Supt. Deanne Burleigh says in the release.

Foot and bicycle patrols have been stepped up in the city in recent weeks, and police continue to urge all residents to report any crimes targeting the Asian community.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2020

The Canadian Press

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