Toronto Cops Arrest Same ‘Swastika Man’ for Two Separate Antisemitic Assaults
Police in Toronto have arrested a local man who carried out two separate antisemitic attacks in the space of four days.
In both incidents, the assailant — 32-year-old Michael Park — displayed a swastika drawn on his bare chest. Park was alleged to have yelled antisemitic invective at the victims in the two assaults.
The first incident occurred on July 6, when police were called to Stanley Park in the King Street West and Walnut Avenue area around 8am. According to the police, Park was seen with a drawing of a swastika on his chest, and allegedly yelled antisemitic slurs at a person, before throwing an object at them.
He was arrested nearby and charged with assault with a weapon as well as two municipal bylaw infractions related to behavior in parks, broadcaster CBC reported.
Four days later, police say a separate victim encountered Park, this time in the Yonge Street and Elm Street area. Again, Park displayed a drawing of a swastika on his chest and was heard yelling antisemitic slurs at three Jewish women.
When a man who witnessed the outrage confronted Park about his antisemitic language, he was punched multiple times.
Park was arrested not far from the scene and charged with one count of assault. He was scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.
In a statement, Canada’s Center for Jewish and Israel Affairs (CIJA) noted that “over the past few months, Jewish Canadians — already the most targeted religious minority in this country according to Statistics Canada — have witnessed an alarming rise in hate-motivated harassment, vandalism, and assault.”
The statement added: “Like all members of society, Jews should be able to walk down the street with confidence in our safety and security.”
Park’s arrest comes less than a week before the Canadian government is due to host a major summit on countering antisemitism.
The parley on July 21 will feature Irwin Cotler, Canada’s Special Envoy for Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism and a former justice minister.
A second summit on Islamophobia will be held the following day, July 22. Both summits intend to “continue building on Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy” and will bring together a diverse group of community and political leaders, academics, activists, and members with intersectional identities within these communities,” a Canadian government statement said.