Edmonton police are looking for two Indigenous men involved in an assault that investigators say was a racially motivated attack.
“With hate crimes something criminal has to have occurred and then they have to prove that the crime was motivated by hate,” said EPS spokesperson Cheryl Voordenhout about the incident.
A Black woman was leaving a business in the west end on Saturday evening when police say a man, described as Indigenous in his 30s with an average build and average height, approached and demanded to see the contents of her bag.
The woman refused, and the man reportedly began to follow her and yell racial slurs.
Police say he obtained a can of bear spray from another man on a bicycle, then walked back to the woman and sprayed her in the face.
The two males then fled.
Employees at a nearby business came to the woman’s aid until police arrived and took her home.
The Edmonton Police Service Hate Crimes and Violent Extremism Unit is now investigating, police said in a news release Monday
They released a series of surveillance photos in hopes someone will recognize the men and come forward.
The man who sprayed the woman was wearing all black clothing and black, ankle-high boots.
The male on the bicycle was described as Indigenous, wearing a black jacket and red hat. His bicycle is described as a black BMX style.
Anyone with information about the racially motivated attack or the suspects is asked to call police at 780-423-4567 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.