Edmonton Police Charge Blogger with Hate Crimes

Edmonton Police Charge Blogger with Hate Crimes

(CBC) - Edmonton police have charged a local blogger with a hate crime for allegedly targeting some local well-known LGBTQ advocates in a series of online posts, CBC News has learned.

Court records show police have charged Barry Winters, 62, with wilful promotion of hatred in ongoing posts for his blog The Baconfat Papers over a two-year period ending Dec. 31, 2016.

The charge is the result of a lengthy investigation after Kris Wells, professor and director of the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the University of Alberta, and at least one other LGBTQ advocate, complained more than a year ago.

As an advocate for human rights, Wells said he is regularly harassed by phone and online.

"But this particular kind of message really did cross the line and targeted me personally," he said in an interview. "It made me concerned for my own safety."

Over the past year there have been several high-profile investigations by the Edmonton Police Service's hate crimes detail but the threshold is high to lay a hate-related charge.

But Marni Panas, another well-known activist, said when she first stumbled upon the blog in May 2016 she feared for her personal safety and decided to report it.

"I was quite concerned because this person was from Edmonton, and if you read it you will see this person has a clear level of hate towards gay people, transgender," said Panas.

Panas said she worries her complaint will make her more of a target "but yet if we remain silent, words have a way of turning into action. And so when we see it we must point it out and talk about it and report it."

Panas said she was emotional when police called her two weeks ago to inform her of the charge.

 

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/edmonton-police-lgbtq-hate-blogger-kris-wells-1.4158528

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