Tim Querengesser was peacefully minding his own business, meditating in his local park, when he says a rock “the size of an apple” went flying past his head.
“When it landed with a crack, a woman near me in the park screamed,” he writes in a new op-ed published in Toronto’s Metro News. “A girl, no older than three, playing about 10 feet from where the rock came to rest, just stared, confused.”
Querengesser turned around to see who had thrown the rock. That’s when he saw the man he had been talking to not five minutes earlier.
“I had never met this guy,” Querengesser claims. “I was sitting on a park bench when he approached.”
“You know, you fags can’t take over this park,” the man allegedly said.
“He walked away, muttering things about ‘fags,’” Querengesser recalls. “Believing he was gone, I resumed meditating. Then, the rock.”
Querengesser wasted no time calling police. But by the time they arrived, the man was gone. Officers proceeded to ask Querengesser a series of questions about the incident:
“I hate to ask you this, but, are you gay?”
Most of me wanted to rage at the question.
“No,” I said.
“Well, if you were, I’d be investigating the guy for a hate crime.”
I nearly lost it, but said nothing.
Querengesser is upset because, as he puts it, “a man had targeted me, believing I was gay. Had the big, heavy rock connected, my brain would have been damaged.”
“Because I’m not gay, however, to the cop this man wasn’t a potential hate criminal but just an annoying hooligan.”
Querengesser, furious that “cop’s suggestion that I needed to be gay for there to be a crime made,” went home and did some research on what constitutes a hate crime in Canada. From a report by the Department of Justice, he learned that the definition of a hate crime varies from place to place, and that most victims of hate crimes are ethnic minorities.
“The justice report notes most victims of hate crimes are ‘not comfortable approaching the police,’” Querengesser notes. “I felt no discomfort with approaching the police.”
Querengesser acknowledges that this could be a result of the privilege he enjoys as a heterosexual, white male, but he’s still upset about it all.
“Another hate crime went unpunished,” he concludes. “One can only imagine how victimizing that police indifference or ignorance would have been for someone who was targeted for who they really are.”
What do you think? Was Querengesser the victim of a hate crime? Sound off in the comments section below.