Police in Brantford, Ont., and Six Nations of the Grand River are thanking the public for sharing a photo that has led to the identification of a suspect who allegedly vandalized a memorial for children who died in the residential school system situated at the site of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School.
According to an update issued Wednesday, the two police services say a citizen tip led police to a 38-year-old Brantford woman who is charged with mischief under $5,000.
While social media sharing helped lead to the positive identification of the woman, some users are now asking why the individual was not charged with a hate crime.
On Facebook, Brantford police said all avenues were considered, and based on information received during the investigation, the incident was not determined to be a hate crime.
A previous statement from Brantford police said the accused arrived at the property sometime around 10:30 p.m. on July 9 and stayed for approximately four hours.
Prior to the identification and charge of the individual, APTN News spoke with Janis Monture, executive director of the Woodland Cultural Centre, which operates out of the former residential school.
Monture said it appeared that most of the shoes were taken from the memorial and placed in a “perfect circle” to the front left of the stairway, while many other items appeared to have been thrown off the steps and a few items were burned.
The memorial was put back together by community members after police reports were filed, and it is continuing to grow again.
“The memorial is very much community driven, community led. It’s their way of grieving and their way of remembering and honouring those children,” Monture told APTN.
The woman has been released from police custody with a future court date.