2 teens arrested in burning of Pride flag in Mississauga, police say

Two youths have been arrested in connection with the burning of a Pride flag after video of the incident circulated on social media earlier this month.

In a news release, Peel police say they were alerted to the video on June 8 and arrested two 16-year-old boys last Thursday.

Video of the incident, in which a group of students filmed themselves burning the flag at Cawthra Park Secondary, prompted statements of condemnation by the Peel District School Board (PDSB) and the school’s administration, who issued a statement calling it a “hateful act of homophobia, transphobia and biphobia.”

After consulting with the Peel Crown Attorney’s office, investigators referred both cases to the youth pre-charge diversion program.

Under the Youth Criminal Justice act, young people who commit an offence can be afforded certain extrajudicial measures, police explained in the news release. 

Video of the incident, in which a group of students filmed themselves burning the flag at Cawthra Park Secondary, circulated on social media. (CBC)

“These extrajudicial measures are put in place to hold youth accountable for their offending behaviours and assist them in not re-offending,” the release said. 

If the teens do not successfully complete the diversion program, they could face charges of criminal harassment, mischief and harassing communications.

Police had been investigating the incident as hate-motivated and say their diversity, equity and inclusion bureau has been “actively involved” in the investigation. 

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