VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A street preacher facing charges after a violent interaction over his anti-gay messaging in Vancouver’s West End is speaking out.
The man accused of attacking Sportsnet 650’s Justin Morissette, who was attempting to stop him from spreading homophobic messages, has taken to YouTube to share his side of the story, claiming he was “assaulted” first when Morissette tried to take his microphone away Saturday night.
“And he stopped and he assaulted me. And if you see the size of this guy, if you see the size of this guy, you will laugh. You will laugh at the fact they put me in jail,” Dorre Love says in the video.
Love says police have confiscated his gospel preaching booth, speakers, and camera, as well as his phone.
“They took my speakers, y’all. They say it’s evidence. The only thing that can exonerate me is on the camera. The camera shows this guy assaulting me,” he continues.
Morissette, who works for our sister station, said he was furious when he saw two people — one being Love — setting up at Thurlow and Davie streets near where he lives. He called their messaging bigoted, hateful, and homophobic, and said he had to do something.
“It’s no surprise that that’s where they’re setting up to do that,” Morissette said of the location the group set up in. The West End is home to Vancouver’s LGBTQ neighbourhood.
“It happened to be me who stepped up and said, ‘You are not welcome in this community to be saying these things. Pack your things and go somewhere else,'” Morissette recalled of the confrontation. “They refused to do that. I asked them if they were going to stay if they would at least turn the volume down because I really can not stress enough how obscenely loud these speakers are. You can hear them for blocks, and blocks, and blocks.”
Morissette said he grabbed the microphone and refused to give it back. It was following this that he said a man “wrenched my leg against his until my tibia and fibula snapped, broke and my knee dislocated.
The incident left Morissette requiring surgery, as well as permanent damage to his leg, which is now supported by metal plates.
Arrests made, charges laid
Love says he spent several hours in jail, and has been charged with a number of crimes.
According to Vancouver Police, two arrests were made in connection with the incident. The VPD told NEWS 1130 officers had ordered the preachers to pack up and leave the area four times since June.
Both people arrested are bound by conditions until their next court date. They include not being in the West End area between Comox Street, Burrard Street, Denman Street, and Beach Avenue. That area includes both English Bay and Sunset Beach.
As part of his video, Love is calling for donations as well as “Christian lawyers” to come to his aid.
“If there’s any Christian lawyers familiar with Canadian law, if there are any Christian lawyers in Vancouver, please give me a call. I need help. A man assaulted me,” he says.
Love tells his followers he’s proudly in the ranks of Toronto street preacher David Lynn, who had similar criminal charges dropped against him after spreading homophobic messages in that city’s gay neighbourhood in 2019.
The MLA for Vancouver’s West End is now asking why police allowed the anti-gay preachers to continue spreading their rhetoric in the area all summer.
Spencer Chandra Herbert told NEWS 1130 the pair breaking the city’s noise bylaw alone should have been enough to shut them down, adding while people having the freedom of speech, “they don’t have the freedom to spew hatred and call for violence against other people.”
“From what folks have told me, and from what I’ve seen online, certainly they should never have been allowed to continue as they have been,” Chandra Herbert said.
Meanwhile, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart commended the VPD for the arrests, adding he is confident the case will be handled “correctly.”
“The preachings of these folks are absolutely despicable,” Stewart added.
A GoFundMe page set up to help Morissette in his recovery has already surpassed its $25,000 goal, raising more than $38,000 in just one day.
-With files from Vanessa Doban, Lisa Steacy, Mike Hall, and Hana Mae Nassar