Calgary police say they are investigating after two women in the same neighbourhood received racially charged letters that threaten extreme violence against them, signed with a similar symbol that blends a Canadian flag with a Christian cross.
"The notes are very descriptive and obviously very disturbing," Staff Sgt. Paul Wyatt said of the pair of incidents, which police believe are linked.
Both letters are signed with a symbol that is "essentially a Canadian flag with a red cross in the centre of it, rather than a maple leaf," said Misty Wind Shingoose, a resident of the southeast community of Deer Ridge.
'Really quite horrific'
Shingoose said she awoke on Saturday to find a bed sheet sprawled out on her front lawn with a note left on the sheet.
"There were death threats, threats of rape, and racial slurs and comments about me being an Indigenous woman," she said of the note.
"It was really quite horrific."
The note expresses anger at Shingoose for parking a large bus on the street in front of her home, a vehicle she has been retrofitting to use as a mobile hair studio to give free haircuts to the city's homeless. The bus was also vandalized.
The note threatens specific sexual violence and murder against Shingoose.
Home with Nenshi sign attacked
Later, Shingoose said she was contacted by a neighbour who received a similar threat.
"She essentially told me that she had the same symbol on the bottom of a letter after a massive stone was thrown through her window half an hour after my bus was vandalized," Shingoose said.
"She's not Aboriginal. She's white and she had a Naheed Nenshi sign on her deck and her letter went off of that."
Shingoose provided CBC News with a copy of the letter her neighbour received.
"You support Nenshi?" the letter says, referring to Calgary's mayor, who is Muslim.
"You are a Muslim sympathizer pig and you will pay."
It goes on to tell the woman to either move or "have your house burned down in the next few years."
It also offers "forgiveness" if she places a sign bearing the same flag-cross symbol on her fence for a week.
"That's a horrific offence to have happen to somebody," Wyatt said of the incident.
Hate crime investigation
Wyatt said police believe the same person is behind both incidents, which happened in short succession within blocks of each other.
He also said the offences could be prosecuted as hate crimes.
"They are certainly hateful messages," he said.
"Any crimes that are deemed to be hate crimes would have to go to the Crown for that but we can certainly build a case with our investigation."
Wyatt said the threats appear targeted against individuals, and police don't believe there is a generalized threat against the community, as a whole.
Anyone with information about the incidents or who has any video recorded in the Deer Ridge area between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Saturday is asked to contact police at 403-266-1234.
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