Jewish LGBTQ Group Try To Get Police To Investigate Hate Crime And Cash Theft, But ...
A representative of the gay Israeli- Winnipeg group Be'TLV has revealed troubling details of their experience with the BerMax Caffe + Bistro incident on April 18th, and with the lax approach of the Winnipeg Police Service to their concerns.
As originally reported by TheJ.ca, hundreds of dollars went missing from their cashbox during the alleged staged robbery and hate crime in the restaurant. We have been provided additional details about the months leading up to the apparent hoax that created panic and anxiety within the Jewish community.
According to K'Fir Mulder, they attended the police headquarters in downtown Winnipeg on Sunday to file a criminal complaint. The group had been sharing office space with the owners.
According to Mulder, when they finally gained entry to the space a week after the incident, they discovered approximately $300 was missing from their cashbox.
More concerning to the group, was the swastika spraypainted over their Hebrew logo on the office wall, which was a direct attack on their Jewish identity.
Mulder and his husband, Be'TLV chair Les Kiesman, had personally experienced a similar hate crime in 2014 with tremendous damage to their Jewish artifacts, and antisemitic graffitti sprayed inside and outside their home after a break-in.
He told TheJ.ca that when he requested to file a formal complaint about the incident at BerMax being a hate crime and theft, the officer asked, "Are you the ones who did it?".
"He didn't seem to know anything about BerMax and told us to file it online."
Knowing that the online report form would not include Hate Crime complaints, "we decided to go the Grant Ave. police station. The officer said they had just been talking about BerMax." The officer took their information and indicated it would be passed on to the investigator handling the file. Mulder says that when they had gone to the scene on April 19th, hours after learning of the apparent invasion by antisemites, the investigator had taken their contact information, but never called.
The mischief charges, it appears, were laid without any information gathered from the people who had operated 12 events in the span of 2 months in the restaurant, and who had numerous conversations witrh the Berent family during that period of collaboration.
According to Mulder, despite a swastika defacing the group's property, the police have shown no sense of urgency to deal with the implications that they were in fact, victims of a hate crime - regardless if the suspects behind the graffiti intended it or not. Meanwhile, Mulder and his husband, and other members of their organization, have been targeted for harassment as online trolls have accused them of being in on an apparent deception of the community.
Coming next: How the LGBTQ partnership with the Berents was steered towards initiating a $300,000 fundraising campaign.