New work: Vancouver police release photos of suspect in alleged gaybashing

BY: ROB EASTON at dailyxtra.com

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Lesbian couple attacked exiting Hastings bus at Commercial Drive

Vancouver police are seeking the public’s help in identifying a man alleged to have attacked a lesbian couple near the corner of Hastings Street and Commercial Drive just after 6pm on Sept 18.

Surveillance footage from Translink shows the man boarding a #135 bus westbound at approximately 5:15pm at Hastings and Kensington in Burnaby. It also shows Ali Matson and her girlfriend Jacqueline Clarke boarding the bus at 6pm at Hastings and Renfrew.

The women allege the man followed them when they exited the bus at Commercial Drive, where he allegedly attacked them.

“He grabbed me by the shoulder, and he punched me in the face with all his body strength,” Matson claims. “My nose was bleeding everywhere, and he gave me two black eyes. He was not holding back at all.”

Matson and Clarke believe they were attacked because of their sexual orientation after they exchanged a kiss and were flirting during the bus ride.

“He just did not like to see two girls kissing,” Matson suggests.

The alleged attacker is described as a Caucasian male, 35-40 years old, six feet tall and 220 pounds with short black and grey hair and facial stubble. He wore a black tee shirt, jeans and black shoes.

When reached for an update on the case, Vancouver Police Department spokesperson Constable Randy Fincham says the investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made.

Fincham says police take the allegation that the crime was motivated by the women’s sexual orientation very seriously, and says the VPD’s Hate Crimes Unit has reviewed the file.

Anyone able to identify the suspect is asked to call the Vancouver police at 604-717-3321, referencing file #13-155332. Or they can report it anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Whew, it’s ready!

So I’ve been working away at this site for a while.  It’s my first real bonafide website that has my name on it and I’m ready to show it to people.

Take a look down the blog and you’ll see much of my recent work for Xtra Vancouver plus some other material.  You’ll soon also see the work I’ve been doing for Mojio – a local tech startup that’s building an online platform that plugs into your car.  I’ll have a flashy new corporate video to show you very soon.  And of course, flip through the categories and see what I’ve been up to.  And if you have a project you think I could help on, please let me know :)

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Lesbian couple assaulted getting off Hastings bus

I, along with CBC broke, this story in the local media after one of the women posted a rant about the attack on Reddit
Published Fri, Sep 20, 2013 8:59 pm EDT on DailyXtra.com


Jacqueline Clarke and Ali Matson say a man attacked them as they got off the bus at Commercial Drive.

Man allegedly yelled, ‘Shut up, you sluts’ and punched Matson in the face

Vancouver police are investigating whether an assault on a lesbian couple Sept 18 was a hate crime.

Ali Matson and her girlfriend Jacqueline Clarke had just exited the 135 bus at the corner of Commercial Drive and Hastings Street when a large Caucasian man attacked them from behind, Matson says.

“He grabbed me by the shoulder, and he punched me in the face with all his body strength,” Matson alleges. “My nose was bleeding everywhere, and he gave me two black eyes. He was not holding back at all.”

Clarke, who exited the bus behind Matson, yelled at the approximately six-foot-three, 200-plus-pounds man to stop. She attempted to pull him off, but he overpowered her and allegedly punched her multiple times in the head as well.

“It was so terrifying because I remember I just sort of watched it all happen and then he turned on me.”

Other bystanders jumped in, trying to detain the man, but he managed to escape, running south on Commercial Drive.

Matson and Clarke say the man screamed repeatedly, “Shut up, you sluts!” during the unprovoked attack, which they believe was prompted by some form of hate against them as a lesbian couple.

“We’ve only been dating a couple of months. We were just flirting and being cute, but he didn’t think so,” Matson says.

Vancouver police spokesperson Constable Randy Fincham says police are investigating the incident, but no arrests have been made.

“There are allegations that the woman was assaulted due to her sexual orientation, an allegation that is taken very seriously by the Vancouver Police Department and one which will be reviewed by our hate crimes unit.”

The couple were on their way to Clarke’s house a few blocks away on the Drive — a neighbourhood known for its openness and strong queer population — when the incident occurred.

Now sporting two black eyes and possibly a broken nose, Matson says that she and Clarke don’t want to let the perpetrator win by changing their behaviour but that the incident has affected their sense of safety.

“I’ve always felt safe here. I’ve never really had any real negative comments about my sexuality. Now, I’m not so sure. I feel traumatized,” Matson says.

Gay bashing print clipping