Arrest made after religious group, residents clash in gay village
Published Tuesday, June 4, 2019 10:42PM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, June 4, 2019 10:45PM EDT
A religious group clashes with local residents in the city's gay village at Church and Wellesley streets Tuesday June 4, 2019.
Toronto police were called in to break up a heated altercation in the city’s gay village Tuesday night after members of a religious group clashed with members of the LGBTQ community.
Police responded to a call about a disturbance in the Church and Wellesley neighbourhood shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday evening.
“We had a number of individuals who came to the village and one had a bullhorn and they started making comments that were disparaging towards the LGBTQ community,” Duty Inspector Jim Gotell told CP24.
Video of the incident posted online shows pastor David Lynn speaking into a microphone at Church and Wellesley streets and saying that he is “coming out as a Christian.”
Among other things in the nearly-two-hour video, Lynn says that he doesn’t hate anyone, that some people hate Christians and that some people want him to “stay in the closet” as a Christian.
He begins approaching various people to ask if they would tolerate him. When one man asks him to go away, Lynn calls him a bigot.
When others approach to tell Lynn that he is disturbing them, he calls them “hateful.”
A larger crowd gathered, with tensions breaking out between members of the preaching group and local residents.
Lynn was eventually arrested for disturbing the peace.
Police said they would lay a formal charge tonight and would investigate further to see if any hate charges are warranted.
“Our hate crime investigators are going to be reviewing what was said today to determine if additional charges could be laid,” Gotell said. “We are asking people if they did make a video of what happened, to please turn it over to us.”
Other members of the group denied that their message contained any hateful content.
The crowd eventually disbursed.
“We want to reassure the members of that community that we are taking this very seriously and we’re conducting a proper and thorough investigation,” Gotell said.
The altercation comes the same day that the rainbow flag was raised at Toronto City Hall to mark the start of Pride Month.