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Hate doesn't belong in our community, says York Pride director following attack

York Regional Police have arrested a man and hate crime officers are investigating the incident that took place in a McDonald's parking lot Sunday afternoon
2019 10 26 Jacob Gall
Jacob Gall. Facebook photo

Jacob Gall of York Pride felt he couldn't just walk away after a man made derogatory comments to him in a McDonald's restaurant parking lot Sunday afternoon, even though it resulted in him being attacked.

On his Facebook page, Gall, who is director of communications for York Pride, posted the details of the incident, which began when a man pulled up to his car — which bears the Pride rainbow decal — and began calling him derogatory names, such as "faggot boy", and told him to "go to hell."

According to Gall, the man then pulled into the drive-thru "to go about his day after just sharing his hatred to someone he has never met before", when Gall decided he couldn't ignore the situation.

"I don't believe bullying will ever stop unless we stand up for what we believe is right," he wrote on Facebook, adding it wasn't his intention to antagonize the man.

Gall approached the man's car, taking a video using his smartphone, telling him that his behaviour was inappropriate, when the driver lunged across the passenger seat and exited the car on the passenger side to chase after Gall.

"He started moving faster toward me, I told him not to touch me multiple times but he then slammed my phone to the ground, breaking the screen, and began to punch me, twice, in the face when I then began bleeding all over my clothes and face."

Gall has posted the video of the incident on his Facebook page.

A bystander then intervened, helping Gall to retrieve his phone from the man and to go inside the restaurant.

Two York Regional Police cruisers arrived at the McDonald's, alerted by a friend of Gall's who had seen the video on social media.

Gall had photographed the man's licence plate, and police have confirmed Umair Ahmad Qurashi, 33, of East Gwillimbury has been arrested in connection with an incident on Yonge Street and Dawson Manor Blvd. He is charged with assault and mischief and is scheduled to appear in the Ontario Court of Justice Nov. 22, 2019.

Gall was treated and released from Southlake Regional Health Centre for minor injuries.

"I just want to close this off by saying that bullying others based on your own misunderstanding or ignorance is not something that should ever be tolerated and this is why, for the past 7+ years, I have continued to work toward creating more accepting and safer spaces for everyone, specifically the 2SLGBTQ+ community," Gall said on his Facebook post.

"I would also like to thank YRP for their quick and efficient response to the situation that happened today," he added.

"One thing I want people to take away from this is (that) hate does not belong in our community," Gall told NewmarketToday, encouraging anyone who has been a victim of a hate crime to report it to police or Crime Stoppers.

Gall's Facebook page is flooded with supportive comments.


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Debora Kelly

About the Author: Debora Kelly

Debora Kelly is NewmarketToday's editor. She is an award-winning journalist and communications professional who is passionate about building strong communities through engagement, advocacy and partnership.
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