Toronto police charge woman who allegedly vandalized Forest Hill Starbucks with pro-Palestinian messages

Toronto police have charged a 25-year-old woman who allegedly vandalized a Starbucks in Forest Hill with pro-Palestinian messages.

In a press release Saturday morning, police said officers were called to the coffee shop at Eglinton Avenue West and Bathurst Street in Forest Hill early Thursday morning to respond to a “disturbances-related incident.”

According to police, the suspect vandalized the storefront with several posters and writings, forcing the coffee shop to close for investigation.

Footage from the scene, as previously reported by CTV News Toronto, shows the vandalism at the downtown coffee shop, with signs and graffiti that include “blood on your hands” and “free Palestine.”

In a post on social media after the incident, Michael Levitt, CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, thanked police for their “quick response” and “for all they have done in recent weeks to keep the Jewish community safe and protected. ”

Although Toronto police said its hate crimes unit has charged 25-year-old Skigh Johnson of Toronto with mischief interfering with enjoyment of property, the incident is not being investigated as hate-motivated.

“The investigation is ongoing, but at this time this incident has not been classified as a hate crime,” police told CTV News Toronto on Saturday.

While it’s unclear why exactly this Starbucks location was targeted in the vandalism, the Seattle-based coffee giant last month accused a 9,000-member union that expressed pro-Palestinian views in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel. of damaging the brand.

Starbucks Workers United’s tweet, which read “Solidarity with Palestine,” was deleted within 40 minutes, but the company said it led to more than a thousand complaints, vandalism and angry confrontations in its stores.

Since then, and amid dueling lawsuits between and against Starbucks and the union, the coffee chain has released a statement expressing its “deepest condolences” amid the “escalating violence and hatred against the innocent in Israel and Gaza.”