The executive director of Shelter Nova Scotia hopes the seemingly random assault of a Halifax homeless man in broad daylight this week is an eye-opener for the general public.
“I am shocked and disappointed, but not totally surprised,” Don Spicer said of the incident at Victoria Park on Wednesday. “But I hope that it does shock the general public.”
Spicer says assaults against homeless people across North America are nothing new. He points to statistics that show a homeless person is 50 per cent more likely to be a victim of a crime than a member of the general public.
"I think it’s a case of an easy target, vulnerable,” he said.
“If you (also) don’t see them as a person first, it’s easier to commit a crime against them,” he then added about some people’s perceptions.
Police are calling it “disturbing” and “troubling” after a 24-year-old Halifax man allegedly punched a homeless man in the face several times at the popular park on Wednesday, and yelled disparaging comments at him.
Police say the 61-year-old victim sat defenceless on a park bench during the assault that happened around 3 p.m.
Prior to the assault, police say there was an exchange of words between the two, with the suspect making disparaging comments about the man’s living conditions.
The assault was only broken up when a bystander intervened.
“It’s deeply disturbing. We are talking about a very (busy) part of the city that happened in broad daylight,” said police spokesman Const. Pierre Bourdages.
“He sat there defenceless and was being assault until someone stepped in.”
The 24-year-old eventually left on foot and police say he was arrested by force a short distance away when he refused to comply with an officers demands.
The homeless man suffered facial injuries and was treated on scene by paramedics.
Police say the incident appears to be completely random.
The 24-year-old is due in court at a later date charged with assault, causing a disturbance, resisting arrest and breaching conditions.