VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A 17-year-old girl was punched in the head several times on a bus in Vancouver last month in what transit police are alleging was a hate crime.
The teen and her mother boarded a bus near Pacific Centre Mall in Vancouver around 3:45 p.m. on May 21.
A woman on the bus asked the girl, who was wearing a headscarf, where she was from and if she was Canadian, according to Metro Vancouver Transit Police.
“The woman then ridiculed and mocked the teen’s ethnicity,” says a release from transit police.
The woman then became aggressive toward the teen, stating words to the effect, “Your smile is making me want to punch you in the face.”
The woman then allegedly punched the teen in the head several times, police add.
Hate crime on transit in #Vancouver on May 21st. @TransitPolice say a 17-y/o wearing a headscarf was punched in the head several times and it was partially removed. The teen was asked if she was Canadian and mocked for her ethnicity. Good Samaritan stepped in. Susp. seen below. pic.twitter.com/wjuOrhMRUu
— Sonia Aslam (@SoniaSAslam) June 1, 2020
The teen’s headscarf was partially knocked off before her mother and a fellow passenger intervened, say transit police.
The suspect got off the bus at Hastings Street and Jackson Avenue.
Transit police say a Good Samaritan followed the woman and called 9-1-1.
When the woman noticed she was being followed, police say she took off her boots and began hitting the Good Samaritan.
The woman then displayed a knife and ran away, police say.
“There is no place for hate, racism or biases on the transit system,” add transit police. “All passengers using our transit system have the right to travel without fear of harassment or assault.”
Transit police are now asking for help identifying the suspect and seeking witnesses.
The suspect is described as possibly an indigenous woman, about 40 years old, 5’8” and 140 pounds. She was wearing a black hat, dark sunglasses, dark top with the word “Pink” written on the back, blue jean shorts, and black boots.
She was carrying a silver, reflective backpack that changes colour in different lights.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Metro Vancouver Transit Police at 604-516-7419, or text 87.77.77, and refer to file 2020-9802.
Last month, the Vancouver Police Department reported an increase in hate-related files so far this year.