Hate crimes

Anti-Semitic Attack on Jewish-Owned Restaurant Is Another Hate Crime Hoax, Cops Say

"We found evidence of a crime. It just wasn't a hate crime."


Last week, a restaurant in the Canadian city of Winnipeg was allegedly defaced by racist graffiti and swastikas. News outlets described it as one of the "most brazen" attacks on the Jewish community in recent memory. A prayer vigil was planned for today.

That event has been cancelled amidst revelations that the Winnipeg police now believe the hate crime was a hoax staged by the Jewish owners of the BerMax Caffe. All three were arrested and charged with "public mischief," which is the Canadian equivalent of misleading police investigators.

According to the CBC:

Winnipeg police Chief Danny Smyth said Wednesday the attack was staged.

"The anti-Semitic graffiti and vandalism were also falsely reported as being done by outside suspects," Smyth said.

"We found evidence of a crime. It just wasn't a hate crime," said Smyth, adding the police expended considerable resources investigating and took the report seriously.

Smyth said he is disappointed by the alleged staging and fears it will promote cynicism. The incident took place the night before the start of Passover, a significant Jewish holiday.

Alexander Berent, 56, Oxana Berent, 48, and Maxim Berent, 29, have all been charged with public mischief and were released after being arrested, police say. They are slated to appear in court in May.

Oxana Berent said she would never invent a story about an anti-Semitic crime, given her family's experiences.

"My grandmother's family, they died in the Holocaust. Just her and her little brother survived, the whole family. We don't joke about that," she said, through tears.

The Berents deserve every opportunity to prove their innocence, and should be treated as such unless the authorities make a compelling case. But this development serves as yet another reminder for the public to take hate crime news with a grain of salt.

Related: I will be on Fox News tonight in the 8:00 p.m. hour to discuss the latest news regarding Jussie Smollett.

NEXT: Check Out This New Database of Corrupt Cops

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. http://defensemaven.io/bluelivesmatter/news/nonprofit-pays-bail-for-man-who-attacked-his-wife-hours-later-he-murders-her-44H_wmJSukiGfnpPa5q4Vw/

    On April 9, the court granted Johnson’s request for an order of protection, and he was notified that he was prohibited from going to her residence or within 300 feet of her, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

    Later the same day, the St. Louis Bail Project posted Scott’s $5,000 bail.

    “The Bail Project is an unprecedented effort to combat mass incarceration at the front end of the system,” according to the group’s website. “We pay bail for people in need, reuniting families and restoring the presumption of innocence.”

    The Bail Project is comprised of “passionate advocates” known as “Bail Disruptors and Client Advocates…many of whom have experienced the bail system firsthand,” according to the website.

    “We believe that paying bail for someone in need is an act of resistance against a system that criminalizes race and poverty and an act of solidarity with local communities and movements for decarceration,” the page read. “Bail is not necessary to ensure people return to court. We won’t stop until meaningful change is achieved and the presumption of innocence is no longer for sale.”

    Within hours after The Bail Project enabled Scott’s release, he made his way over to Johnson’s home, arriving there at approximately 7:45 p.m., the Associated Press reported.

    He proceeded to violently assault her, then left her bloodied body lying inside her home, prosecutors said.

    I guess it never occurs to these assholes that some people really are dangerous and there are two sides to crime.

    1. Don’t they have the technology to monitor his movements, say, with an ankle bracelet, so that if he comes too close to his wife’s house – or even enters the wrong sector of the city – it sets off an alarm?

      1. When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

        1. Sure, but I don’t want to rely on people being too poor to afford bail as a safeguard of public safety.

          The bail system doesn’t empower a Department of Pre-Crime.

          At some point, and this is a prediction not necessarily an endorsement, dangerous suspects can as a condition of release be forced to wear some kind of shock collar, or one of those shock suits prisoners wear. Potential victims would be able to press a button and immobilize the suspect if he gets too close.

          1. Or even just because 😉

    2. If bail was set at $5k, then obviously no one expected this outcome. If the police or judge had thought that he was that out of control, he would have been remanded or put under house arrest.

      This essentially boils down to the same situation as if this stain on humanity had a credit card to max out or friend that he could borrow enough money to pay bail for. He obviously had no care for his own freedom that compared to his revenge or rage. However, he hid the fact well enough that no one knew until too late.

      1. He beat the shit out of her.He was arrested and couldn’t make bail.
        No friends or family wanted to bail his ass out. His victim sure as shit didn’t. Maybe the do-gooder org that was totally responsible for getting the killer out of jail should think twice about springing violent assholes. I wonder how much public money they receive?

    3. I guess it never occurs to these assholes that some people really are dangerous and there are two sides to crime.

      The bail was $5000, so he might have been able to come up with it or a bond payment himself at some point. No one could predict the future. Why didn’t the judge remand him without bail if it was so obvious to anyone that he would go back and murder his wife?

      1. It’s probably as reasonable to blame the judge who set a fairly low bail as to blame the org that bailed him out.

        1. You wanna know how Zeb knows this? Xe and I know how Zeb knows this.

      2. Domestic abuse is not a crime limited to the poor, so even with a high bail, there are many men who could pledge their house or retirement account and get out – and they are no less likely to kill their spouse.

        And remember what distinguishes the American legal system from the French: “innocent until proven guilty”. Holding someone in jail for longer than it takes to bring them before a judge is reversing that presumption. No one should be held long in jail, unless it’s _after a hearing where evidence that they are dangerous or a flight risk is presented and the defense has a chance to rebut it.

    4. Yeah, maybe when the charge is an actual violent offense, the do-gooders should mind their own business. Seems like something like this was bound to happen. Doesn’t really help the perfectly decent cause of getting people out of jail who don’t need to be there.

  2. Oxana Berent said she would never invent a story about an anti-Semitic crime, given her family’s experiences.

    “My grandmother’s family, they died in the Holocaust…”

    Well, great. Now I have to start doubting the Holocaust.

    1. I am sorry for her grandmother’s family, but grandma is the only one who has the moral authority to play that card.

      1. My father died with Nazi bullets in his ass, so I have Nazi bullets in my ass.

          1. And he does mean anus, not buttocks.

        1. Are we not doing phrasing again?

          1. Isn’t that not a double negative?

        2. My grandfather died in a concentration camp. He got drunk and fell out of the guard tower.

    2. Most secular Western Jews are assholes. Most Jews, myself included, despise them. They’re just infected with the same self-hating SJW propaganda.

  3. “The Berents deserve every opportunity to prove their innocence, and should be treated as such unless the authorities make a compelling case.”

    The sentences comes in one way and comes out another.

    This is merely a police allegation at this point.

    This could be a fake hate crime, or it could be a fake fake hate crime.

    1. right. “compelling case” > “opportunity to prove innocence”

      1. Wow, the CBC press release, I mean article, doesn’t even summarize any prosecution evidence, though this being Canada not the Land of the Free, maybe the press is more censored there.

  4. >>>take hate crime news with a grain of salt

    or ignore the nomer completely. is there “friendly crime”?

    1. is there “friendly crime”?

      Yes, they are called Happy Endings.

      1. ha. shouldn’t be a crime in any universe

      2. ha! okay, that was a good one!

    2. No, but there is a lot in between hate and friendly. I think most (actual) crimes are crimes of indifference to victims, not hate.

      Still, I too would like to see the term “hate crime” struck from the language.

    1. Passover (observers?)

      1. dayenu.

  5. “The Berents deserve every opportunity to prove their innocence”

    Not sure how it works in Canada but in MY America it’s not up to the accused to prove innocence… sort of up to the State to prove guilt.

    But what do I know about Canada…


    1. They still deserve the opportunity to do so. Proving your innocence is one way to defend against a charge.

      1. It’s generally very hard to prove a negative absent impossibility or an iron-clad alibi.

  6. “to prove their innocence” — really? That’s not how things are supposed to work.

    Yes, odds are the police are correct. But we woudln’t need courts if police were perfect guardians.

    1. It may be truly a fake hate crime, and the police have them dead to rights.

      Or maybe the cops had difficulty solving the crime and turned, in frustration, to the victims as suspects.

      Maybe it was a hate crime but the offender was too influential to be charged.

      Who knows? The article is singularly uninformative.

      1. I checked out other articles. The lady claimed she was assaulted but fainted so she doesn’t remember who her attacker was (or were). Christine Blasey Ford sounded more believable (ok, not really). The same guy or guys who allegedly attacked her supposedly did the artwork on the walls. The police used forensics and surveillance footage and ended up accusing the owners of the restaurant (lady, husband, and 29 year old son) of something akin to filing a false police report. Local churches canceled their solidarity vigils.

        1. The press seems to be suggesting financial and legal difficulties may have inspired the family to – I think the theory is – stage an attack to raise sympathy and funds.

          Anyway, it’s too early to be definitive – with this and other arrest stories, I often wish I had the memory to check up later and see if the charges stuck.

          1. …which is a generic beef of mine, because often, the most coverage a story gets is with the initial arrest, and the final result in court – whether conviction, exoneration, plea deal – gets little or no coverage.

            And by the time it’s all resolved, I may have gotten bored and went on to the next thing, so it’s the arrest I remember.

          2. A sympathetic candlelight vigil in front of your place of business covered by the local news. You can’t get better advertising than that, free or otherwise.

  7. “But this development serves as yet another reminder for the public to take hate crime news with a grain of salt.”

    Whatever problems there were with antisemitism in Canada are exactly what they were before this incident, and they will remain that way regardless of whether this incident was real or a hoax.

    Thanks again for bringing our attention to something we should ignore–and it should be ignored.

    So, you’ll be talking about the Smollett case because . . . since there’s nothing rational to learn from that case about race and violence in America, too–the case should be ignored? Even if you were trying to make a point about prosecutions being politically driven, isn’t that as it would be even if Smollett had (or hadn’t) been indicted? There wouldn’t been anything to learn about Trump voters even if what Smollet had claimed was right as rain, isn’t that right? Whatever we’re supposed to learn from this case, yeah, I think we’d be better off if we just ignored it. Fox News is often like that.

    1. Whatever problems there were with antisemitism in Canada are exactly what they were before this incident, and they will remain that way regardless of whether this incident was real or a hoax.

      Good point.
      But man, you’ve got a thing for Robby lately. I think it’s a fine thing that someone is reporting on this stuff. Good for him for finding his niche as a third tier talking head.

    2. I can name three mass shootings of white people by black nationalists in the last three years. There were probably more we never heard about because the press won’t report them. Doesn’t mean it’s a major problem. Black people living in fear of white people is as delusional and irrational as white people living in fear if black people. All hate crimes are anecdotal anomalies. We live in a country of 330,000,000 people. They are irrational fears for everybody. It’s why there are so many hoaxes.

      1. I’m gay. I don’t live in fear of gay bashings. They are basically non-existent. I’m as likely to be killed by an illegal immigrant MS-13 member. However, I’m constantly told to live in fear of gay bashings. Both are less likely than getting bitten by a shark.

        1. I’m old enough to remember when gay bashing was a serious thing. It was something jocks, skinheads, and punks would do on a Saturday night–in Hollywood, Balboa Park in San Diego, and I understand it was a thing in San Francisco. Metallica’s “Seek and Destroy” was music for bash crews. Bash crews were a real thing.

          For all I know, they’re still a real thing in certain parts of the country. I don’t know what’s going on in Muncie, Indiana or Omaha, Nebraska. I feel especially bad for anybody who reports being a target of a real bash crew these days–because in the past, at least people would believe you. The problem with the boy who cried wolf was that it wasn’t just his cries people started to ignore. It was anybody who cried “wolf’, and in that case, the real bad guy isn’t just the boy who cried wolf, but the people who stopped believing in wolves.

          The appropriate thing to learn from the boy who cried wolf is nothing.

          1. The appropriate thing to learn from the boy who cried wolf is nothing.

            The appropriate thing to learn from the boy who cried wolf is not to believe that specific boy.

          2. I lived in Laramie, Wyoming for 7 years, which is supposed to be the most anti-gay place in the country, and stayed for various lengths of time in numerous tiny, podunk towns around Wyoming and Nebraska where all those supposedly bigoted dangerous people live. Never had a problem. 99% of people treated me exactly the same after finding out I was gay, compared to 99% of progressives and liberals who treat me differently afterwards, like I’m a pet or novelty.

      2. The media isn’t there to inform or give an accurate picture of what’s going on in the world. At their best, they’re there to sell toothpaste and beer. At their worst, they don’t even care about profits and driving viewership. Media ownership is largely about a defensive play from people who are wealthy enough to buy their own media properties and mostly intimidate the coverage. If you ever want a job working for most of the best news jobs in media, then you better keep your mouth shut about Gates and Bezos. The “profits” of MSNBC and WaPo are about fending off antitrust and muckraking by paying off or intimidating the people who might come after them otherwise. Is the Washington Times still owned by the Moonies?

        Trump has been wrong about so many things, but when he called the news media the enemy of the American people, that wasn’t one of them. Turn these people off.

        Maybe there is something useful to learn from this Smollett shit. If you stream Sling Orange ($25 a month), the only major cable news station you pay for is CNN. Yeah, it’s disappointing that CNN gets some of your money–but MSNBC gets nothing. Fox News gets nothing. ESPN gets nothing. BBC gets nothing. CNBC gets nothing. Oxygen, Headline News, Fox Business they nothing, nothing, and nothing. CBS News, NBC News, ABC News–you have to get an antenna to get the broadcast stuff, which means they get nothing from your cable company carrying them either.

        Maybe that’s what we learn from this Smollett shit–we can stop giving these assholes in the news media our money.

  8. It might be possible to do some digging and uncover a handful of “hate crime hoaxes” over the past few years. However, we must not lose sight of the big picture. As the SPLC has thoroughly documented, Drumpf has emboldened white supremacists. It’s more dangerous than ever for black and brown bodies. And for Jews.

      1. Oh, man, those were funny as shit. Or totally depressing. I can’t decide.

      2. How about telling your children that the U.S. no longer has a president who would be thrilled to see Israelis driven into the sea en masse.

    1. Yeah, that line about Trump supporters is campaign rhetoric horseshit. You can find that bias overflowing in Reason’s archives from the 2016 election, where writers at Reason were covering Trump campaign rallies like the rallies in Nuremberg. Why there were Trump thugs attacking protestors in the aisles just like in that Pink Floyd movie.

      “There’s one in the spotlight
      He don’t look right to me
      Get him up against the wall”

      Remember all that hubbub over Michelle Fields? She was assaulted by Trump’s own staff, right in front of the cameras, and no one in the Trump organziation even cared–innocence abused! Everyone associated with the Trump campaign were thugs. Trump was grabbing pussies, hating immigrants, and the whole time the Proud Boys were smiling their proud smiles!

      Smolett’s story wasn’t any harder to believe than the horseshit that was peddled around here ahead of the last election.

      Look in the archives, and you’ll find ENB reporting about a pr0n star (who did bukkake and gang bang videos) suing Trump for sexual assault because he allegedly once kissed her on the cheek without asking her permission.

      Meanwhile, Kavanaugh got away with rape . . .

      The most disturbing part of this is that racism and sexual assault are very real problems, and the journalists who threw these charges around weren’t acting much differently from Smollett. Were they attempting to drive ratings, line their pockets, and make themselves influential by exploiting charges of racism and rape?

      Nothing to learn from that either. The whole thing should be ignored.

  9. These white supremest just aren’t like they used to be.

  10. Fakes like this are pretty rare. And drunk teenagers did spray paint swastikas in my neighborhood (which does have some Jews living in it) Halloween last year. Maybe just vandalism, but vandalism meant to jerk people around and make them feel unsafe.

  11. Smyth… fears it will promote cynicism.

    Too late.
    Also was gonna do:
    [A href=image]Shocked Face[/a]

  12. The Left always projects their hatreds and crimes on the Right.
    Every accusation from a Leftist is a confession.

    The Left have reinvented themselves as the Klan 2.0
    Out with cross burnings on lawns, in with race baiting and hate crime hoaxes.

  13. Nobody knows better than Jews how falsely claiming persecution can be turned into sympathy for money or anything they want, like stealing Palestine.

    This explains their obsession over six million.


    One day sharing the evidence of logic and science won’t be illegal.

  14. “We found evidence of a crime. It just wasn’t a hate crime,” said Smyth

    *If* this turns out to be “a hoax staged by the Jewish owners” it should be prosecuted to the fullest extent as a hate crime, which I suspect it *technically* is. (Where’s Rufus with the Canadian definition”?) Perhaps that will help convince people that the very notion of “hate crime” is an abomination.

  15. Where was Smollett when these anti-semitic smears were perpetrated?

  16. “Smyth said he is disappointed by the alleged staging and fears it will promote cynicism.” Replace “fears” with “hopes” and I’m right with ya Smyth.

  17. This is another fake one, right? The woman has to be fake dead. Let’s pay lots of attention to the fake crimes so we can brush off the real ones.


  18. The very idea of a hate crime is terrible, punishing thought or perceived thought behind an act.
    But since such law exists, one should prosecute without prejudice.
    If a man ‘hates’ on himself, he gets hate law prosecution just as much as would the skin head with nazi tatoos.

  19. It’s almost as if there are no genuine hate crimes anymore… Other than all the ones against white people, but since those are committed by people of color, and against evil oppressors they’re totes cool I guess.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.