Hamilton police lay charge in Locke Street vandalism

  • Posted on: 7 April 2018
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

From The Hamilton Spectator

“We believe that the individual is the operator of The Tower.”

A well-known Hamilton activist, previously accused of being a ringleader behind destruction at the G20 summit in 2010, has been charged in connection with a vandalism spree on Locke Street last month.
On March 3, a masked mob of about 30 people in black clothing marched down Locke Street throwing rocks at cars and businesses, breaking windows and lighting fireworks. They caused about $100,000 damage.
Late Friday morning, Hamilton police announced they had arrested Peter Hopperton, 31, at a residence near Cannon and Hess streets — a place they were also searching for evidence that morning.
He is charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

Police said information from the public as well as other electronic evidence led to Hopperton's arrest.
Hopperton made a brief appearance in front of a justice of the peace Friday afternoon.
He was brought into the prisoner's box with his hands shackled. He is tall and thin, with his hair in a shoulder-length bob. He was wearing glasses, a brown hoodie, skirt and dark nail polish. He spoke briefly with duty counsel and appeared calm.
A half-dozen police officers and at least four special constables were in the courtroom for Hopperton's appearance.

Hopperton will be kept in custody until he makes his next court appearance Monday morning.
As he was led out of the courtroom, a lone female supporter yelled out "Love you Cedar. Be strong."

A moment after he left, about 20 more supporters — not realizing they'd already missed his five-minute appearance — entered the court with several more police officers.
They dispersed around 20 minutes later, one swearing at the cops on his way out.

Hopperton previously pleaded guilty to counselling mischief in connection with the 2010 G20 protests in Toronto. He is also known for local environmental activism.
Hamilton police say Hopperton is the operator of The Tower — an anarchist gathering space and collective on Cannon Street East.
In the wake of the vandalism spree, an anonymous poster on a Facebook account linked with The Tower previously denied that group was behind the vandalism, but expressed support for the tactics.
"The ongoing effects of gentrification in this city are heartbreaking — waves of displacement, growing violence, and intensifying poverty," the post reads, later adding, "We have zero tears to shed for Locke Street."
"We believe that he was taking part in (the vandalism)," Hamilton police Deputy Chief Dan Kinsella said of Hopperton.
He declined to say what Hopperton's alleged role was, saying the case is before the courts.
Police previously said the group, which carried a banner that read We Are The Ungovernable, was linked to the Hamilton Anarchist Book Fair that took place a few blocks away that weekend.
Kinsella repeated that connection Friday, alleging Hopperton was also connected to the book fair, held at Westdale Secondary School.
The Locke Street incident has been roundly denounced by politicians, with Hamilton city councillors voting to formally condemn the vandalism.
During a council meeting, Mayor Fred Eisenberger called the group "terrorists" and Coun. Terry Whitehead said police should label the anarchists "a gang."
However, Kinsella said police are not investigating the group as a gang. They are a "collective," or an "anarchist space," he said.
In the aftermath of the vandalism there has been an outpouring of support for the affected small business owners on Locke.
Two weeks ago there were duelling protests in the neighbourhood.
One was billed as a "Patriot Walk on Locke" and included far-right groups such as Soldiers of Odin, The Proud Boys and the Ontario Northern Guard. This sparked a counterprotest by Hamiltonians Against Fascism.
Police worked to keep the groups separate and no one was hurt or arrested.
After the protests there was a confrontation between two groups outside The Tower.
Since the vandalism, The Tower has also seen damage at its storefront property, including a smashed window.
Kinsella stressed the investigation is ongoing and police are still looking for more information about others involved.
"If you see something say something, if you know something, say something," Kinsella said.
For Ward 1 Coun. Aidan Johnson, who lives steps from Locke, the arrest brings hope it will lead to more charges.
"I would say that the violence on Locke Street is still an open wound for people," he said.
It's been a "turbulent" and "scary" time for the city, but the way the community rallied has also brought everyone together, he said.
Johnson said he's spoken with Hamilton police Chief Eric Girt and is pleased with the diligence of the investigation.
"Hopefully this is the first (arrest) of many," " he said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Jamie Simpson at 905-546-3816. To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

With files from Susan Clairmont
noreilly@thespec.com
905-526-3199 | @NicoleatTheSpec

With files from Susan Clairmont
noreilly@thespec.com
905-526-3199 | @NicoleatTheSpec

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Comments

Hamilton. You are a source of inspiration. Tell us what you need. We want to help.

Time to re-activate, then. As Sun Tsu said... the enemy will provide you with the opportunity.

I love how these small business yuppies get so triggered, please break more of their windows. Steal their shit, whatever you can do!

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