A 34-year-old man has been charged in connection with a hate-motivated mischief and criminal harassment investigation by Toronto police related to an incident earlier this year on the construction site of the Michael Garron Hospital expansion.
Police were called to the construction site at the northeast corner of Coxwell and Sammon avenues on Wednesday, June 10, at 12:31 p.m. When officers arrived, they were told that workers assigned to the closed construction site, which is not accessible to members of the public, had found two nooses on their construction equipment.
A police press release on Monday, Dec. 7, stated:
“As part of the Toronto Police Service’s commitment to tackling Hate Crimes, a task force was set up in response to several similar reports at construction sites across the city. This project team includes members of the Hate Crime Unit as well as investigators from 55 Division, 52 Division and 11 Division. As a result of the investigation, officers were able to identify a suspect in relation to one of the nooses discovered on June 10, 2020. A 34-year-old man was arrested on Friday, December 4, 2020.”
Jason Lahay, 34, of Toronto, has been charged with Mischief Interrupt Property Over $5000.00 and three counts of Criminal Harassment.
He is scheduled to appear at College Park Courts, on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, at 2 p.m.
The police press release of Dec. 7 also stated:
“When suspected hate-motivated offences are reported to police, the investigation will be led by a divisional investigator. The Hate Crime Unit will be made aware and specialized officers from that unit will support the investigation as needed. If it is alleged a criminal offence was committed (such as assault or mischief) and it is believed to have been motivated by bias, prejudice or hate, the officer-in-charge will consult with the Crown. If a person is charged and convicted of the offence, the Judge will take into consideration hate as an aggravating factor when imposing a sentence.
“Wilful promotion of hatred and advocating genocide are hate propaganda (hate speech) offences which require the Attorney General’s consent. Members of the Hate Crime Unit will provide assistance and support to the divisional investigators in seeking the Attorney General’s consent to lay these charges, if applicable. These charges are often laid at a later time.”
The June 10 incident at the hospital expansion site was not the only one in which anti-Black racism has been discovered at construction sites in Toronto this year. Nooses were also found at sites at Dundas and Sumach streets on June 26, and at 81 Bay St. on June 25.
Also, on Oct. 2, racist graffiti towards Black construction workers was found on the hospital site. On Sept. 24, another alleged incident involving a noose took place at the hospital site.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police in 55 Division at 416-808-5500, or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477 or online at https://www.222tips.com