An Edmonton man has pleaded guilty to multiple charges after a 2020 attack against a Muslim mother and daughter outside a south-side shopping mall.
Richard Bradley Stevens was charged with assault and mischief in the incident, which became the first in a string of assaults others committed against Muslim women in the Edmonton area.
Stevens’ lawyer Peter Keyes entered guilty pleas Friday on the December 2020 charges. He also entered guilty pleas to uttering threats and resisting a peace officer in a different incident that happened a few months later.
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The case is being dealt with in mental health court and Stevens was present in person Friday.
Keyes said he wants to request a mental-health evaluation known as a FACS assessment before setting a sentencing date, but the judge said there will be difficulties getting access, and he should also consult the psychiatrist currently treating Stevens. The court didn’t hear details about Stevens’ medical diagnosis Friday.
According to agreed facts read by the Crown, two women, who are Black and wear hijabs, were sitting in their car in the Southgate Centre parking lot on Dec. 8, 2020, when Stevens began yelling at them. He called them racial slurs and told them to “go back to their country” and then punched the car’s passenger-side window, breaking it.
He left briefly, but then returned and chased one of the women after she got out of the car, pushing her to the ground. She reported that he punched her multiple times and she briefly lost consciousness. The other woman got out of the car to try to intervene, but he chased after her too.
After the assaults, members of Edmonton’s Somali community said the incident was “disturbing” and left them questioning their safety in the city. A family member of the two women also told media that they were traumatized by the attack as well as the struggle to navigate support resources in the aftermath.
While police were arresting Stevens outside Southgate Centre, he continued shouting racial slurs targeting the women.
Emergency medical services took Stevens to hospital because they thought he might have broken some of his knuckles when he punched the car window. The Crown said a police officer of East Indian descent later went to check on Stevens, and he hurled numerous racial slurs at him too.
Before the officer left, Stevens told him, “I am going to get out and do it again, you (expletive).”
Stevens was released from custody the next day under conditions including not possessing weapons.
On March 6, 2021, Stevens was arrested again after a dispute with a man he knew outside the man’s apartment. Police tried to arrest him while he was yelling that he was going to kill the man and burn down his home, but he refused to co-operate and physically resisted until more officers had to be called in for help.
According to the facts read in court, police also found a knife when they searched Stevens, which was a violation of his release conditions.
Warrants for Stevens’ arrest were issued twice last year after he didn’t show up to scheduled court dates, including what was supposed to be the start of a two-day trial last summer.
A pre-sentencing report was ordered Friday, and a sentencing date will be scheduled on April 22.