A disturbing video circulating on social media has raised questions about how Metro Vancouver police investigate hate crimes.
The video shows an altercation between people on a stopped train at the Broadway-City Hall Canada Line station in Vancouver on Nov. 12. A man swears and yells some anti-Semitic remarks to someone as he exits the train car onto the platform.
The footage was shared on social media on Sunday, Dec. 3.
Metro Vancouver Transit Police (MVTP) shared the video on its channel on X (formerly Twitter), captioning that the footage only shows a "small glimpse" of what happened on the train. It added that officers attended the scene, spoke to all parties involved, and that police "consider the matter resolved."
MVTP Const. Amanda Steed said there were multiple peaceful demonstrations taking place on the day the altercation occurred and that officers were "proactively deployed" on transit to ensure safety.
While the Transit Police support Canada's right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, it takes all "complaints and incidents seriously and looks at all investigative avenues to determine if hate is a motivating factor," she told V.I.A.
While "hate, in and of itself, is not a crime," it can be considered a "motivating factor" in a crime, Steed added.
A hate crime is an act against a person, group of people, or property that is motivated by hate, prejudice, or bias based on race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin, language, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, or sexual orientation.
A hate crime is covered by three sections of the Criminal Code, including:
- Section 318: Deals with advocating genocide against a group.
- Section 319 (1): The public incitement of hatred.
- Section 319 (2): The wilful promotion of hatred.
In the Canada Line incident, Steed said the chant you can hear in the video "does not meet the threshold for criminal charges" and that "it is clear both parties have opposing political views" and use derogatory language.
Transit Police investigated the incident and determined there were no threats of violence or physical assaults.
Anyone who feels unsafe for any reason while using public transit should contact Transit Police by calling 604-515-8300, texting 87-77-77, or calling 911 in an emergency.