Rainbow crosswalk vandal apprehended

June 30, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

The Dufferin OPP’s investigation into homophobic graffiti spray painted behind the Orangeville Public Library and vandalism to the rainbow crosswalk at the intersection of Mill Street and Broadway has concluded.

As a result, four youths were identified in the incident and one 16-year-old male has been referred to the Youth Pre-Charge Diversion Program where various extrajudicial measures are considered when dealing with someone who has committed an offence.

These measures could include community service, paying for the damage caused, issuing a public apology, or whatever the courts deem to be fair. In the event that the program isn’t completed, the youth will then be charged criminally.

The Dufferin OPP treated this incident of mischief as a hate crime.

Orangeville Councillor and member of Celebrate Your Awesome, Lisa Post, said she’s very pleased with the Dufferin OPP for taking the crime seriously and working diligently with different departments to apprehend the suspects so quickly.

“I do really hope that as part of their punishment through the courts, that they get education of why crimes like this are inappropriate. Why crimes that feel like hate crimes can be so damaging to an entire community,” she said.

“Not only did they deface something that was important to the community, but they defaced something that was important to the LGBTQ+ community, and I really hope that they get some education on why crimes like that can breed such hate.”

The defaced rainbow crosswalk has since been revitalized. 

Post says she’s hopeful that the incident can be used as a learning opportunity for the youth who committed the vandalism. 

“I just hope that they’re punished with education. I hope that they get to learn something from it for sure,” she noted.

Meanwhile, Jim Waddington, another founding member of Celebrate Your Awesome, said he’s happy to hear the investigation has concluded and the suspects have been found.

He noted that the perpetrator of the vandalism should receive a probationary period, some form of community service, and education as to what the 2SLGBTQIA+ community is all about.

Waddington added that the reason the crosswalks and Pride celebrations are needed is because there is still some hate in the community.

“This type of behaviour is one of the reasons why that we put out crosswalks, one of the reasons why events such as Celebrate Your Awesome Pride and Diversity Day in Dufferin County needs to continue,” he said.

“Through others ignorance, we’re hoping to create more of an understanding and awareness and have them move forward, try to harmonize a little more – realize that everyone should be equal and that every individual is a human being, not just pocketed groups.”

Post noted that she’s hopeful the Dufferin OPP’s rapid response to the incident will deter future vandals from committing similar crimes going forward.

“Not only is it tough on the community when crimes like this happen, but it’s also expensive and taxpayers have to pay for the repairs,” she explained. “Our taxes are high enough, so I do hope it deters others. There’s been graffiti and vandalism crime going on for a while, this isn’t new, so I hope it deters all of crimes like that to stop.”

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