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City, Vancouver Police sued by man badly hurt in fight with anti-gay street preacher

Last Updated Feb 24, 2021 at 7:12 pm PDT

Summary

In lawsuit, Justin Morissette claims police were willfully blind in build-up to incident in West End

Morissette says he was assaulted after grabbing a microphone from an anti-gay street preacher

Lawyer for Morissette says his client wants to set a precedent in relation to hate speech

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The man who confronted anti-gay street preachers in the West End and ended up with broken bones is taking the City of Vancouver and its police department to court.

In his lawsuit, Justin Morissette, who is with our sister station Sportsnet 650, argues the police failed to protect him in the August incident.

Morissette needed several surgeries and was in the hospital for weeks after his leg was broken the incident last August. One man has been charged with aggravated assault, but the case has not yet been tried in court.

RELATED: West End assault leaves Vancouver man with broken leg, follows confrontation with homophobic street preachers

Morissette says he was assaulted after grabbing the microphone from one of the preachers who refused to turn down the volume on the speakers blaring his message, and that the person who harmed him was part of a group that had been blaring bigoted, hateful, and homophobic rhetoric over loudspeakers in the neighbourhood all summer long.

Morissette’s lawyer, Jim Hanson claims police were willfully blind in the build-up to the incident.

“They were aware, as early as mid-July when this gentleman was actually arrested for being a nuisance and causing a disturbance and making that area unlivable — he was arrested, and then they allowed that to continue for another six weeks until finally, it reached a stage where Mr. Morissette gets attacked and suffers these terrible injuries,” Hanson said.

RELATED: Vancouver man hurt in confrontation with anti-gay street preachers supports noise bylaw change – with caveat

He tells us his client wants to set a precedent that cities are expected to protect the LGBTQ+ community from hate speech.

“I don’t think a person in Canada has a right to stand on the street corner and disturb the peace by spewing hatred towards the LGBT community or any other community,” he said.

Additionally, Morissette is suing preacher Dorre Love and Christ’s Forgiveness Ministries.

-With files from Bethlehem Mariam, Lisa Steacy, Ria Renouf and Tarnjit Parmar