Montreal police have made an arrest in connection with an incident on May 5 in which two young men assaulted an older man on the street in broad daylight, following a rally celebrating Israel’s independence.
Last month, the force’s hate crimes unit made an appeal for the public’s help in finding the two alleged perpetrators. Information could be given anonymously. Police reissued a video taken by a member of the Jewish community who witnessed the incident from his office in Westmount, which he posted on social media after the incident.
The police characterized what occurred as an “armed assault and robbery following a hate crime.”
The identity of the accused and the charges will be made known after their court appearance.
A spokesperson for the SPVM told The CJN the suspect is 15 years old, and has been released, with conditions, on a promise to appear before the Youth Division of the Court of Québec.
Federation CJA welcomed the arrest and applauded the seriousness with which police responded to the incident.
At that time, chief executive officer Yair Szlak said, “We are appalled and outraged to witness an act of hatred and violence on the streets of Montreal, targeting a member of our Jewish community.”
He praised the police department for its professionalism in conducting a thorough investigation that has resulted in an arrest.
“The person, or persons, responsible for this act of violence must be held to account,” he said.
Szlak also thanked Dan Goldstein for filming and reporting the incident to police and the federation, and urged anyone else “seeing something to say something.”
According to police information released in June, the unnamed victim in his 50s was walking back from the large rally, which had taken place without incident at downtown Place du Canada, holding a rolled-up Israeli flag.
When he reached the corner of Ste. Catherine Street West and Wood Avenue in Westmount at around 1:15 p.m., a distance of about 15 blocks from the rally, two black-clad males accosted the man and ordered him to give them the flag, police stated.
“Faced with the victim’s refusal, the suspects grabbed the flag and rushed at the man, and an altercation ensued. One of the suspects struck the victim’s head with a branch. A citizen wanting to help him was also hit several times in the face. The suspects fled on Wood Street in a blue Infiniti QX56 vehicle.”
One of the individuals was described as approximately 18 years old, five feet eight inches tall, dark skinned and with black curly hair.
The other was also described as around 18, the same height, and wearing a black “intervention mask.”
“The security of our community is our highest priority,” said Szlak, who urged vigilance. “We must never accept that antisemitic acts and acts of aggression, intimidation, and hatred are acceptable in any way. There is absolutely no justification for violence of any sort here in Montreal or elsewhere.”
Goldstein, a lawyer who served in the Israeli army, was looking out his third-floor office window when he saw the altercation begin. His wife Liat Lev-Ary, who served in the police in Israel, took over the filming as he went down to the scene.
He gave chase to the assailants, and then helped the victim who he said was bleeding. The couple was disturbed that no passersby, except the young man who intervened and was struck, did anything as the incident unfolded, as can be seen on the video.
The victim’s wife later posted on Goldstein’s Facebook page about the assailants: “You found a random person on the street and assaulted him with so much hate. I only wish that one day you will understand that the only way for us all to live in a safe world is to accept others, to let them live their life as well as they let you live yours, and to let hate go.”