Calgary police charge man with hate crime at library drag event

Calgary police have laid charges Friday against a man that crashed a library drag reading event.

Officers say they responded to protestors shouting homophobic and transphobic slurs at the Seton Library’s “Reading with Royalty” event at 11:15 a.m. on Feb. 25.

“We were subsequently called to the location for reports that several individuals aggressively entered a library classroom, shouting homophobic and transphobic slurs at the children and parents in attendance, scaring the children while causing a disturbance and subsequently refusing to leave,” a statement from police reads.

At the time, two people in attendance helped library staff throw the people out while waiting for police to arrive.

Once police arrived, they removed the protestors and remained on the scene to ensure public safety.

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As a result, Calgary police arrested and charged 36-year-old Derek Scott Reimer with a hate crime. He faces one count of causing a disturbance and one count of mischief.

CPS reminds people that hate-motivated crimes are things like assault, theft, vandalism, or any other crime where the offender was “motivated by bias, prejudice or hate” that is based on nine characteristics of the victim.

In addition, hate-motivated crimes don’t result in further charges but can be considered by the courts if a person is found guilty. Police say if a judge sees hate as a motivation for the crime, it will be factored into the person’s sentence.

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The suspect appears in court Friday.

The City of Calgary peace officers is also pressing by-law charges against Reimer, with six counts of harassment under the Public Behaviour Bylaw.

It says the charges were issued on “long-form summons,” with each charge carrying a penalty of up to $10,000 and up to six months in jail if payment defaults.

According to bylaw amendments passed in June 2022, insulting or demeaning behaviour, including unwanted sexual advances or harassing anyone based on age, race, sexual orientation, disability, gender, gender identity or gender expression, is prohibited.

“These amendments were created as a clear message that Calgary is a place everyone should feel welcome and safe, and free from harassment,” said Ryan Pleckaitis, Chief of Community Standards for The City of Calgary in a statement.

The city says the bylaw applies to all public spaces within Calgary, including businesses such as restaurants, sidewalks, and in libraries.

It also reminds Calgarians that the bylaws apply to “all sides of protests, equally.”

Police ask anyone with information about this incident to call them at 403-266-1234 or leave a tip anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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