A jogger Gerry Samson says he saw "gleefully" kicking down Canadian flags at Sunnybrook Hospital on Remembrance Day.
TORONTO - Police say they've launched a mischief investigation after a jogger was spotted kicking over miniature Canadian flags at a Remembrance Day display.
QMI Agency first reported that a shocked couple said they witnessed a jogger run through the display of thousands of tiny flags near the cenotaph at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Sunday afternoon, kicking over the flags.
"We were trying to appeal to his good judgment and say what he was doing was so horrendous," Gerry Samson told QMI Agency Monday.
The couple said the jogger ended up flipping them the bird.
Samson's niece uploaded the offensive middle-finger image onto the website Reddit under the heading,
"Do you recognize this coward? Toronto man seen damaging Remembrance Day tribute."
At the time, Samson said he didn't file a police report because he didn't believe there are any charges that could be laid.
"I believe it does not fall under hate crime but a mischief charge is appropriate in these circumstances," Toronto police Det. Dino Granberg said.
Word of the mystery flag-kicker continued to spread like wildfire online.
One commenter claimed they'd seen the man at the Granite Club, an exclusive members-only sports facility in Toronto, while another suggested people ask nearby specialty shops such as The Running Room or Sporting Life to see if they recognize the guy.
Samson's niece, who goes by the handle freckledsmile on Reddit, reminded commenters Thursday that bringing awareness to this story was not to encourage vigilante justice.
"There are a lot of violent threats going around on here," she said. "I truly hope that no one tries to attack this man. Our main intention was to shame the man, but it has taken on a life of its own.
"If there is any silver lining, it is really touching how many younger people are outraged by this man's actions."
The suspect is described as white, between 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-11, around 180 pounds and bald.