Charges laid in post-rally altercation
After a thorough review of all available CCTV, including officer-worn body cameras, and witness statements, we have laid charges in an altercation that turned physical after a rally on Saturday, March 20, 2021.
At approximately 4:15 p.m., a man left a rally at Prince’s Island Park when he was approached by a man in a wheelchair who called him an offensive name. A verbal altercation ensued followed by the wheelchair-bound man ripping a crucifix necklace from the other man’s neck. The man struck the man in the wheelchair multiple times, at which time, several of the wheelchair-bound man’s friends began to gather around the two.
The man who left the rally had been carrying a flagpole at the time of the altercation. He made a jabbing motion toward the group of people before striking a woman in the chest with the butt end of his flagpole, pushing her backwards five to 10 feet. A struggle ensued between the man in the wheelchair and the man with the flagpole, which resulted in the man falling out of his wheelchair and the flagpole being broken.
One of the group interjected in the altercation and the man with the flag pole attempted to punch the individual before stepping backwards, losing his footing and falling.
Officers intervened and separated the parties, all of which refused to provide statements at that time.
It is believed the man in the wheelchair instigated the encounter both verbally and with the first physical contact. However, the other man’s response by numerous punches to the wheelchair-bound man, and the subsequent strike to the woman with the flagpole were beyond reasonable to stop any perceived threat or assault. As a result, 65-year-old Milan MATUSIK, has been charged with assault and assault with a weapon. He will next appear in court on Wednesday, May 5, 2021.
A thorough review of this investigation determined the assault did not meet the threshold for hate crimes, or hate-motivated criminal allegations.
Finding a balance between the rights and freedoms of expression, with public safety and the impact these rallies have on the community, is extremely challenging. As a Service we strongly condemn racism and hate. Although we may find certain viewpoints not in alignment with who we are as a compassionate, kind community, physical violence is never the answer.