Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Man charged in racist attacks


An interracial couple, who yesterday found out a man was arrested in connection with racist graffiti scrawled on their Newmarket home, say they have given up their home because of the ordeal.
Although they are relieved someone has been arrested, they made the "mistake" of selling their home last week after more threats were mailed to the Hodgson Drive address, Rita Brown and her partner, Seun Oyinsan, said this morning.
"We got a letter saying someone was planning remote control explosives and to kiss my kids goodnight," she said. "That was enough for us and we sold our home."
Only yesterday, the couple found out a man Rita described as her ex-boyfriend had been arrested by police.
"To say I was shocked is an understatement," she said. "I was just talking to him and trying to help him out last week.
Now, the couple is left searching for a new house in which to live.
"We have huge regrets over the sale of our home. We lost $30,000 on the deal," Ms Brown said.
"We plan on staying in Newmarket, but I think we are going to rent for a while."
Between September 2011 and January, a mixed-raced couple had racist words and symbols spray-painted on their home and vehicles. Police confirmed the man had been involved in an earlier relationship with the female victim.
“I always felt it was an isolated incident and that it did not reflect the way our community embraces our diversity,” Newmarket Mayor Tony Van Bynen said.
He appreciates the hard work of the police as well as their commitment, from the onset, to solving the crime.
Although many residents and those following the story from beyond the town’s borders were appalled with the act when it came to light, there is a silver lining.
“On a positive note, this incident actually helped the surrounding neighbourhood rally together as many felt this was not how they wanted their neighbourhood identified,” Mr. Van Bynen said. “Many of the residents had lived there for years and were saddened to see their neighbourhood identified because of this incident.”
It was the catalyst for the formation of the Newmarket Cares community group that has worked to get support for the victims of this crime.
“Newmarket is an inclusive community in which we pride ourselves on being accepting of others and celebrating cultural harmony, heritage and ethnic diversity,” he said,
Four separate reports of property damage or threats involving hateful language were made to police.
Police identified a suspect and a man was arrested Monday.
A 63-year-old Bradford man is charged with two counts of mischief, uttering threats and criminal harassment.
He was released and is to be back in a Newmarket court in March.
York Regional Police also consider the episode to be an isolated incident, Const. Rebecca Boyd said.
The Newmarket Crown attorney’s office will consider the legal definition of hate crime as this case proceeds through the courts, police said.
Ms Brown plans to speak with police about what to do with the camera that was donated to her by the Newmarket Cares community group.
"I plan on donating it to whoever needs it," she said.

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