Toronto police arrest 11 activists suspected for antisemitic vandalism at Jewish bookstore

The authorities have arrested eleven individuals in connection with an investigation into hate-motivated mischief over $5000. The charges are related to the red paint, graffiti, and vandalism against the Indigo bookstore for having a Jewish CEO.

Toronto police arrest 11 activists suspected for antisemitic vandalism at Jewish bookstore
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center
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In a news release on Thursday morning, November 23, 2023, the city police service's Hate Crime Unit announced that they have taken action by raiding the homes of six individuals. As part of an investigation into hate crime mischief over $5000, the police seized phones and laptops of anti-Israel activists involved in the incident against a Toronto Indigo book location on November 10.

The store in the Bay Street and Bloor West area was splashed with red paint, vandalized, and graffiti'd with pro-Palestinian messages. This was reportedly in response to the CEO, Heather Reisman's Jewish heritage

The Toronto police alleged that:

  • a group of suspects approached a bookstore at the corner of Bay Street and Bloor Street West

  • the suspects proceeded to glue posters to the doors and windows of the business

  • the suspects then poured red paint on the windows and sidewalk

Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, November 14, Nisha Toomey, a 41-year-old Toronto resident and self-described 'BIPOC academic,' who works as a Curriculum Design Consultant and Facilitator at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly known as Ryerson), was arrested and charged with:

  1. Mischief over $5000

Scheduled to appear in court at the Ontario Court of Justice January 19, 2024, 2pm, room 202.

Additional search warrants on the homes and cars of suspects were executed after further investigation by the Hate Crime Unit. Ten more activists suspected to be involved in the antisemitic vandalism were arrested, Wednesday morning, November 22.

Sharmeen Khan, 45, MacDonald Scott, 56, Mercedes Lee, 44 Suzanne Narain, 38, Lesley Wood, 56, Sarom Rho, 29, an Doty, 43, Stuart Schussler, 39, Karl Sebastian Gardner, 33 and Clement Cheng, 26, all of Toronto, were all arrested and charged with:

  1. Mischief Over $5000
  2. Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence

Scheduled to appear in court at the Ontario Court of Justice between January 5 and 19, 2024.

Dean Skoreyko on X(formerly known as twitter) posted that allegedly, Sharmeen Khan is CUPE 3903's book keeper according to a Linked-in profile with correlating credentials. 

The Toronto police state that the investigation is ongoing and is being treated as a suspected hate-motivated offence.

Toronto Police Chief Myron Demkiw has revealed that there were 78 reported hate crimes in Toronto between October 7 and November 20, a significant increase compared to the 37 reported during the same period in 2022.

Following the October 7 Massacre, there have been 25 arrests and 64 charges laid in connection to reported hate incidents by the Hate Crime Unit.

The police service has introduced a new web form on their site for the 24/7 monitoring of hate-related graffiti.

An Instagram page associated with Palestinian activism, which has promoted several pro-Hamas rallies since October 7, is calling for activists to conceal their identities by covering their faces during protests so they won't be identified while committing crimes.

Additionally, they are encouraging peaceful protesters not to denounce or criticize criminal activities committed by others to further isolate violent members because “a large variety of strategic pressure gets applied through various means.”

They remind demonstrators to not speak with police for any reason.

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