Vandalism of Edmonton community hall shown in social media video

Vandalism of Edmonton community hall shown in social media video

Days after the Brookside Hall in southwest Edmonton was destroyed by vandals, a video allegedly showing the act was posted to social media.

The user behind the now-deleted Instagram profile claimed responsibility for the damage and shared videos of the incident.

Miep Raedschelders, Riverbend community league president, said she was already overwhelmed dealing with the aftermath of the damage to the hall.

But Raedschelders said insult was added to injury after a community member forwarded the Instagram video showing the vandalism.

“I felt very nauseated, to be honest, that was the first reaction,” Raedschelders said in an interview on Wednesday.

“Maybe this is a way forward to find out who did this and find out perhaps some reasoning … You think that would be a good feeling, but it was a horrendous feeling in my stomach.”

WATCH | Brookside Hall faces another incident of vandalism

Social video allegedly shows community hall vandalism

A video posted by a now-deleted Instagram account allegedly shows vandalism of the Brookside Community hall in Edmonton.

Brookside Hall, one of two rental spaces operated by the Riverbend community league, was vandalized during the early hours of New Year’s Eve.

The hall had been freshly renovated after it was previously vandalized in October.

Brand new floors and ceiling tiles had been installed and it was set to re-open for programming in January.

Raedschelders said the board’s vice-president got a notification that the thermostat had disconnected from the Wi-Fi, so she drove to the hall the next morning. She noticed at once the door had been damaged and that something was wrong.

The building, at 5320 143rd St., had extensive damage to nearly every room.

Vandals tore down the new ceiling tiles and smeared the floors with paint and glue.

Stacks of chairs set to be steam-cleaned were glued together.

Walls were spray-painted with racial slurs and bathroom fixtures, drywall and kitchen appliances were smashed. The videos taken from inside the hall show several individuals inside, with most of the damage already done.

University of Alberta criminology professor Temitope Oriola says the decision to record and post the damage speaks to a growing trend.

“I hate to admit this, but it does seem that cellphones increasingly make people do and or record very stupid things,” Oriola said. “I think this is part of a broader pattern of … cellphones and cameras in spaces and places that they were not once welcomed.”

Oriola said this is part of “an economy of oversharing” which often includes posting content without thinking about the subsequent consequences.

But he said this pattern of oversharing can have an upside as the recordings will likely help police find the vandals.

“Clearly these are individuals without any full understanding of the broad implications of making that video, and then putting that video forward,” Oriola said.

“Which is great for police investigations, but it is troubling. This does help to move the process forward, but it also betrays the level of maturity and degree of rationality of the individuals who were involved.”

The community league has sent the video to Edmonton police.

The bathrooms were destroyed which resulted in damage to the water lines. The league is now struggling to flood the very popular Brookside rinks.
The bathrooms were destroyed which resulted in damage to the water lines. The league is now struggling to flood the very popular Brookside rinks. (Emily Fitzpatrick/CBC)

Edmonton Police Service spokesperson Carolin Maran said officers are aware of the video and the investigation is ongoing.

Raedschelders said the experience has been demoralizing for the volunteer board, but the response from the community since the break-in has been overwhelming.

“We’re trying to figure out how to mobilize the offers of support from the community because we are limited when it comes to safety and liability about what can happen inside the halls,” she said.

“People are upset and people do want the programming to continue … To get this hall back to functionality, and to make sure that we have ice for the kids to skate on, and to ensure that the league movement is alive and well, that’s been a wonderful feeling.”

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