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Calgary Police investigating coronavirus threats made against ethnic groups

Calgary Police Service are investigating two separate coronavirus related threats made against two different ethnicities.

On Mar. 14, a local Chinese restaurant received an anonymous threat that police believe was motivated by the recent news about coronavirus.

Police have identified a suspect but charges have not yet been laid.

Charges laid after man utters threats in Indigenous social media group

On Mar. 22, Calgary police received a report from Indigenous Elders after a man allegedly remarked that he would spread COVID-19 to Indigenous people.

Charges for uttering threats were laid against the man after Calgary police worked with Tsuut’ina and Blood Tribe police.

Const. Craig Collins with the Calgary Police Service said that while making threats may not seem like a big deal to some people, it could leave negative effects.

“When people are already dealing with the stress of COVID-19, adding more fears and stress can do very real damage to their mental and emotional health. It’s unacceptable,” he said.

“This is a time when we should all be coming together to encourage one another and keep everyone safe.”

“It’s unacceptable that some members of our community are weaponizing this pandemic to make others feel even more vulnerable than everyone already does. We won’t ignore it.”

Uttering threats can lead to charges

Under Canadian law, a person can face charges if they threaten to cause death or bodily harm to someone else, damage to someone’s property, or harming someone’s animal.

Police say a threat can also be considered as a hate crime if it’s motivated by bias, prejudice or hate.