BC Hate Crime Team charges two alleged white supremacists in multiple

Jewish Tribune, Canada/December 13, 2011

Toronto/Vancouver -- Two alleged members of the white supremacist organization Blood and Honour have been arrested and charged by the British Columbia Hate Crime Team.

Robertson De Chazal, 25, of Vancouver has been charged with aggravated assault for allegedly setting a man of Filipino descent on fire and with assault for allegedly assaulting a black man. Shawn MacDonald, 25, of Vancouver has been charged with three counts of assault stemming from two separate incidents in which a black man, an Hispanic man and an aboriginal woman were assaulted.

New Westminster Detective-Constable Terry Wilson told the Jewish Tribune in a telephone interview that the charges were laid following a review of police files which his team began in February 2011.

"A third man has been arrested in relation to these investigations," said Wilson, and potential criminal charges against him are currently before the Crown for review.

According to Section 718 of the Criminal Code of Canada, Wilson explained, any hate motivations involved in a crime have to be proven after a conviction has been reached and then taken into consideration "as an aggravating factor," when sentencing is determined.

The recent arrests "are very significant," said Wilson. In addition to "holding offenders accountable," they are "also very disruptive within that [violent, neo-Nazi] subculture because they know there's a dedicated team in British Columbia and that's what we do."

Wilson said part of his team's motivation in holding a press conference to announce the arrests was to raise awareness in the Canadian public of a violent faction that exists as a "subculture in the neo-Nazi community.... Communities and individuals should be vigilant in recognizing that these elements exist."

"B'nai Brith Canada has long recognized the existence and continued danger posed by neo-Nazi and other hate groups," said Anita Bromberg, national director, legal affairs, B'nai Brith Canada. "As documented in B'nai Brith's Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents in Canada, hate crimes must always be taken seriously, both as a punishment and as a deterrent against future victimization of vulnerable groups or individuals."

Dan Levinson, a security consultant based in Western Canada and a young leader in B'nai Brith, told the Tribune that "Canada has seen its share of extremism…. To assume that it doesn't exist is simply false. I commend the BC Hate Crime Team and encourage them to integrate with anti-terrorism units to focus on extremism wherever it is found and whatever its underlying motivations."

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