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MLA's assistant assaulted in possible homophobic attack

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The MLA for Vancouver-West End says he and his assistant are “shaken and shocked” after an apparent attack on Friday.

The Vancouver Police Hate Crimes Unit has been called in to investigate the case.

Spencer Chandra Herbert says a man burst into his constituency office and demanded to speak to him; he says the man said hateful things about a rainbow flag that flies at a community centre across the street, as well as the rainbow flag in his office.

“He shouted homophobic slurs at my constituency assistant, punched a hole in my office door, and then assaulted him,” claims Herbert.

The attacker apparently punched the employee.

Herbert police quickly showed up and arrested the man; the VPD says he was intoxicated at the time of the incident.

“My assistant is doing okay. We’re obviously all quite shaken by this,” says Herbert. “We live in the West End; I think this is a good reminder that if it can happen here in a community like this, with such support for equality and gay rights, it can happen anywhere.”

The 53-year-old man has been released without charges, pending a court appearance on April 4th.

Herbert says he is reconsidering the safety protocols at his office.

“I’ll do whatever I can to make sure my assistants our safe… but at the same time, we want to make sure that our office is welcoming, that it’s not a Fort Knox that keeps people out. People should feel safe to come in to their own government office and get the support they need. So, there is that balance. But absolutely, we are assessing our safety and security protocols.”