Ontario Provincial Police have charged three children with assault with a weapon following an attack against an elderly woman in Pembroke but say racism was not a "motivating factor" in the incident.
OPP responded to reports on Aug. 20 that someone had thrown a rock at the 80-year-old victim's head, vandalized her home, and shouted racist comments at her. Police said at the time it was part of what they called "ongoing harassment" of the woman.
In a press release Monday, OPP said they charged two 13-year-olds and one 12-year-old with one count each of assault with a weapon in connection with the incident, but the offenses are not considered to have been hate-motivated.
"As part of the investigation, the [Upper Ottawa Valley] OPP Crime Unit did examine any role that race may have played in the incident. The OPP Hate Crimes/Extremism Unit was consulted and it was determined that, while there may have been a racial aspect to the situation, it was determined not to be a motivating factor in the incident," Provincial Const. Shawn Peever said in the press release.
The three youths, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, are scheduled to appear in court Nov. 5, 2020.
Peever told CTV News that he could not elaborate further on the evidence that led investigators to determine that racism was not a motivator factor, as the case is now before the courts, but said the the evidence determined the case did not meet the Criminal Code threshold for a hate-motivated incident.