Toronto police are looking for a 32-year-old man in connection with two alleged hate-motivated incidents in the East Toronto area earlier this week.
Officers responded to a call for an alleged hate-motivated threat in the Gerrard Street East and William Hancox Avenue area on Sunday, July 23.
According to police, the victim was walking their dog in the area when a man approached and allegedly started yelling racial slurs at them. The man then allegedly followed the victim and threatened to kill the victim, police said.
Police said the man then allegedly yelled racial slurs at a second victim and threatened to kill the second person as well.
The man is not known to either victim, police said.
After consultation with the Toronto Police Service’s specialized Hate Crime Unit, the investigation is being treated as a suspected hate-motivated offence, police said in a news release on the morning of July 26.
“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,” said the news release.
“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.”
Matthew Paul, 32, of Toronto, is wanted by police on two counts of utter threats/death or bodily harm.
He is described as six-feet tall, with a large build, brown eyes, a goatee and bald.
He is known to frequent the area of Victoria Park Avenue and Gerrard Street East.
Police warned anyone who spots him to not approach, but to call 9-1-1 immediately.
In February of this year, Paul was charged with threatening bodily harm, assault and failing to comply with probation in connection with an incident on a TTC bus.
In that incident, police said a man riding the 23 Dawes bus allegedly assaulted and made a racial slur towards a girl on the bus at approximately 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8. Police were called to the Main Street Subway Station, on Main Street just north of Danforth Avenues, to investigate the incident.
Police alleged a man on the bus threatened the girl, who was 12 years old, and other passengers on the bus. Police said in the Feb. 21 news release that after consultation with the Toronto Police Service’s specialized Hate Crime Unit, the investigation was being treated as a suspected hate-motivated offence.
Anyone with information on Paul’s location is asked to contact police in 55 Division at 416-808-5500, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477, or online at https://www.222tips.com/