'I stood up to anti-gay bullies': Man's leg broken in confrontation with street preachers
VANCOUVER -- A man ended up in hospital with a broken leg after confronting a group of street preachers making anti-gay remarks in the West End, the city’s largest gay community.
Justin Morissette posted on Twitter Saturday night, saying he stood up to bullies at the intersection of Thurlow and Davie streets.
In a statement, the Vancouver Police Department said its officers were called to the intersection around 8 p.m. A group of people there were using a microphone and amplifier to preach about religion and perform anti-gay chants, police said.
“A short time after the preaching started, one individual approached the group and asked them to stop the anti-gay chants and to stop speaking into the microphone,” said VPD spokesperson Sgt. Aaron Roed in the statement. “A disturbance ensued and the individual is suspected to have been thrown to the ground, where they unfortunately broke their leg.”
Two people from the group were arrested and are now facing possible charges of aggravated assault and mischief. VPD hate crime investigators have also been notified.
“VPD will not tolerate any type of hate crimes and will investigate all reports of hate crimes or suspected hate crimes that happen in the City of Vancouver,” Roed said.
Longtime West End resident Stephen Wahl says he’s been calling police for months about the group.
“I was horrified, but not surprised, and I’m sad that it had to come to this, but I knew it was inevitable,” Wahl said. “This is inflammatory stuff. It was only a matter of time. Every week something like this happens. People get upset, they’re inflamed, they’re provoked.”
The group has been appearing on streets in the West End and English Bay for months. CTV News Vancouver’s Penny Daflos has previously looked into the group’s origins and interactions with local residents. Vancouver police have also been called a number of times.
Even from hospital on Saturday night, Morissette issued a message to people, warning them against being a bystander.