Teens charged in connection to offensive flyers found in Ajax, Photo: Flickr/2010 Legal Observers
Three teenagers have been charged after anti-Black flyers were found around Ajax, including on school properties.
According to police at around 2:50 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10 officers responded to the Rossland Road West and Ravenscroft Road area after receiving reports about offensive flyers on display in the area.
Officers located five posters in total, each with an anti-Black message and image, and a phone number. It’s been determined that the phone numbers used on the posters belong to two young females, who had no idea their numbers were listed.
The Durham District School Board (DDSB) says it alerted the police immediately when the materials were found.
“Materials were discovered on and around school properties depicting extremely offensive and hateful racist slurs, imagery and messaging targeting Black communities,” DDSB Director of Education Camille Williams-Taylor said in a statement on Sunday.
An extensive investigation into the situation was started by the Criminal Investigations Bureau, assisted by school resource officers. Investigators reviewed surveillance footage and spoke with witnesses, determining that the three males were involved, including a 17-year-old male who had prior contact with both female victims.
A release from Durham Regional Police Services (DRPS) says the posters are believed to have been created as an act of revenge with the hope that the women would receive negative backlash from the posters.
“We are asking that anyone who may have a copy of the flyer to not distribute it. Despite the intent to cause distress to the female victims, the flyers contain hateful messages that have and will continue to cause distress to our community,” police said.
Police were first investigating the situation as Public Incitement of Hatred, but say their investigation has led them to conclude this was not the intended purpose. An investigation is ongoing, and officials say at this point they believe the posters were intended to cause harm to the victims only. However, DRPS say they recognize that there are others impacted by the posters.
A 15-year-old male, 17-year-old male, and 18-year-old male, all from Ajax, have been charged with five counts of Harass by Means of Repeated Telecommunications.
DRPS says the 18-year-old’s name is being withheld to protect the victims’ identities. The two other accused cannot be identified under the terms of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Anyone with information is being asked to contact DRPS at 905-579-1520 ext. 2542 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222–8477.