Investigators allege workers assigned to a closed construction site, which
police said is not accessible to the general public, arrived at work to find two nooses on their construction equipment. In a June 26 news release, investigators called this incident a “suspicious threat” and asked anyone with information to contact them.
“Toronto Police has been actively investigating this incident and investigators have engaged the Hate Crime Unit. Additionally, both the construction company and owners of the site have been assisting with the investigation,” police said in the release. Toronto police said as “part of the Service's commitment to tackling Hate Crimes”, they set up a task force following several similar reports at construction sites across the city. They said this team included members of the Hate Crime Unit along with investigators from 55 Division, 52 Division and 11 Division, police said. As a result of this “hate-motivated mischief and criminal harassment investigation”, a suspect was identified in connection to the discovery of one of the nooses on June 10. Jason Lahay, 34, of Toronto, was arrested on Friday, Dec. 4. He has been charged with one count of mischief interrupt property over $5,000 and three counts of criminal harassment. He has a Jan. 13 court date. Toronto police said when “hate-motivated” offenses are reported to them, a divisional investigator leads the investigation. The Hate Crime Unit is also advised and specialized officers from that unit support the investigation, as needed, police said. If there are allegations of a criminal offense being committed like assault or mischief that is believed to be motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate, the officer-in-charge will consult with the Crown Attorney, police said in a Dec. 7 release.
“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,” police said. “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.”https://www.toronto.com/news-story/10283781-man-34-arrested-after-nooses-found-at-michael-garron-hospital-last-summer/