Ottawa police lay hate-motivated charges following attack near Gloucester High School

Ottawa police say six young people are facing charges following an attack last month near a local high school, video of which was widely shared on social media.

Parents in Gloucester and Beacon Hill said they were distraught by the violence that was caught in camera on Sept. 8. Video showed a group of boys punching and kicking a boy on Ogilvie Road, appearing to take his necklace and phone.

The victim is a Syrian immigrant. It was his third day at Gloucester High School.

In a news release Monday, Ottawa police said the investigation was complex and involved the robbery unit and youth officers. Six youths, who cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, are facing what police called “multiple hate-motivated offences, including robbery, conspiracy to commit an indictable offence and intimidation by violence.”

Police said they are continuing to review any hate aspects related to the case and are encouraging witnesses who have not yet spoken to investigators to come forward.

An online petition was launched after the video started spreading on social media, calling on the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) to improve safety at schools and prevent violence against students.

“We’d also love to see actual steps being applied on the ground to ensure this violence never takes place again, and especially not to visible minorities or due to race, religion, gender, or any other distinctions that might indicate vulnerability,” the petition states.

It has received more than 14,000 signatures as of Monday.

CTV News Ottawa has reached out to the OCDSB for comment on Monday’s announcement by Ottawa police. 

Last month, the board launched an anonymous reporting tool that allows allow students to share concerns about the health, well-being and safety of themselves or others.

The board says the reporting tool is monitored by a live operator between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. on school days, and the team is “completely independent” of a school.

–With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Colton Praill and Josh Pringle.

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