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Man charged after targeting Somali women in parking lot of Edmonton mall


EDMONTON — A 41-year-old man has been charged after he allegedly yelled racial slurs at two Somali woman wearing hijabs in an Edmonton mall parking lot.

Police say in a news release that they responded to an assault call at Southgate Centre Tuesday afternoon.

They arrived to receive a report that a man had approached the women who were sitting in their vehicle and started yelling at them.

Witnesses told police the man punched the passenger-side window and caused it to shatter.

Police say the passenger was scared and ran from the vehicle, at which point the man ran after her, pushed her to the ground and started assaulting her.

The second woman tried to help and was shoved to the ground before several citizens intervened and stopped the assault.

Officers took a man into custody when they arrived.

"The attack on these women is horrific and our hearts go out to them," Sgt. Gary Willits with the Edmonton hate crime unit said in a release Wednesday. "These individuals were targeted due to their race, therefore making this a hate-motivated crime."

Richard Stevens of Edmonton faces two counts of assault and one count of mischief.

Police said they used a section of the Criminal Code that allows the courts to consider increased sentencing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 9, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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