City police have charged a man after a road rage assault that appears to have been racially motivated.
Edmonton Police Services (EPS) Northwest division officers responded to a report of a road rage altercation near Fort Road and 122 Avenue around 6 p.m. on Sunday, a news release said Wednesday.
It was reported to police that a man was driving north with his family on 82 Street near 118 Avenue when he noticed a man in a vehicle in the lane next to him. That individual made a profane gesture to a woman wearing a hijab in the passenger seat of the complainant’s vehicle.
The man and his wife ignored the individual and continued to drive down 82 street. The suspect reportedly began to drive erratically, speeding up and slowing down causing a collision between the two vehicles. The two vehicles pulled off the road into a parking lot along with a friend of the complainant who was driving behind the two vehicles.
The accused man is alleged to have refused to give any information and directed racial slurs at the family. He assaulted the friend who had witnessed the erratic driver and then left the scene. The man who was assaulted was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
EPS members later arrested 34-year-old Andrew Brown. He is facing charges of assault causing bodily harm, careless driving and several other traffic infractions.
The EPS Hate Crimes and Violent Extremism Unit has been contacted and are recommending a section of the criminal code that allows for longer sentences to be considered by the court when there is evidence that hate, motivated by race, can be applied in the case.
City police said they have reached out to leaders of the Edmonton Muslim community to keep them informed.
The assault is the latest in a string of hate-motivated attacks in the city. Two black women were assaulted in the Southgate Mall parking lot earlier this year while several other people have been attacked at transit centres throughout Edmonton. The string of attacks prompted the City of Edmonton to improve safety features at various LRT stations and transit centres.