Calgary, AB,

Charges laid in hate-motivated attack

A threating, racist tirade on the CTrain has resulted in criminal charges being laid against a Calgary man.

The incident occurred around 8:30 p.m., on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021. A young South Asian woman was riding the train when a couple with a child in a stroller boarded at Chinook Station. One of the parents sat in a seat with their child, while the other stood nearby.

A man on the train began telling the young woman to give her seat up for the standing parent and, despite the couple assuring the woman and man that they do not need the seat, the man’s comments escalated to include racial and sexual slurs. The man then stood up and walked towards the young woman, but another passenger intervened and blocked him.

Calgary Transit staff were alerted and the man was told to leave the train at the City Hall station. The woman then met police at a station further down the line to report what happened.

“No one should have to fear for their safety when they are out enjoying our city, especially if that fear comes from being targeted because of their race or some other personal characteristic,” said Sergeant Gareth Joels from the Calgary Police Service Hate and Extremism Team.

“This type of behaviour is completely unacceptable, and we want this young woman to know that Calgarians are not okay with what happened to her. It shows in the fact that people on the train intervened, and I hope it shows in all the investigative work we have done to try hold the person responsible accountable.”

Gary Francis DAWSON, 63, of Calgary, is charged in connection with this incident with one count each of assault, criminal harassment, causing a disturbance and mischief. The case is being treated as hate motivated.

The investigation continues and we would like to speak to the bystander who intervened and anyone else who witnessed this incident. Please call our non-emergency number at 403-266-1234 and provide the below case number.

Hate-motivated crimes are recognizable crimes, like assault, theft, vandalism or any other crime, where the offender was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on one of nine personal characteristics of the victim.

A hate motivation does not result in any additional charges, but any evidence of it is considered by the courts after a person is found guilty of the connected crime. If the judge decides during sentencing that hate was a motivation for the offence, it is an aggravating factor that can add to the convicted person’s sentence.

We encourage anyone who has been the target of ill treatment because of hate to report it. Even if the incident is not criminal, we can use the information to track trends and sometimes even identify suspects in other investigations. Incidents can be reported by calling 403-266-1234, or visiting

Case #21345480/5124