Dec. 18, 2004. 08:23 AMFantino attacks gay deal
Sensitivity training `being forced' on police force, chief says
Agreement ends lawsuit over 2000 raid on lesbian bathhouse
CITY HALL BUREAU
COLILN MCCONNELL / TORONTO STAR Police Chief Julian Fantino says more gay and lesbian sensitivity training for officers is necessary.
Toronto police Chief Julian Fantino is attacking a legal settlement that requires his officers to take more gay and lesbian sensitivity training, calling it an unnecessary overreaction.
"It's being forced on us," Fantino said. "We are conscientious about diversity and sensitivity and all those kinds of things. Is it necessary? I think that in many respects this is a duplication of much of the work we already do."
The agreement, signed between the Toronto Police Services Board and seven complainants and approved by the Ontario Human Rights Commission yesterday, closes the book on a raid on a female bathhouse by police more than four years ago.
Police board chair Pam McConnell said Fantino's objections would not prevent "these important" actions from being put into effect.
"This is not the jurisdiction of the chief of police. This is the jurisdiction of the board," McConnell said yesterday. "I think human rights in our city should be taken exceedingly seriously."
Two of the seven women whose complaints were settled yesterday said they had hoped it would help bridge strained relations between city police and the gay and lesbian community.
In exchange for agreeing to drop their class-action lawsuit against the police and police board, along with a complaint about the incident that is before the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the seven women will be paid $350,000 by the Toronto Police Services Board.
The board also promises to develop — in consultation with the complainants — new training programs for officers of all ranks on dealing with gay, lesbian and transgendered people.
Mayor David Miller called the additional training "a very positive step."
The settlement requires the five male police officers who conducted the raid on Sept. 15, 2000, to issue signed apologies to the 300 women who were attending the "Pussy Palace" event that night.
After being alerted by two undercover female police officers inside the event, the five male officers raided the place — spending 90 minutes on what was described as a routine liquor licence inspection.
The raid by five male officers on a bathhouse filled with hundreds of women, many partly undressed, was deemed an outrageous, flagrant, deliberate, unjustified violation of the women's Charter rights by the Ontario Court of Justice two years ago. In throwing out the liquor licence infractions against the venue, Justice Peter Hryn compared the officers' entry into the club to a strip search.
In June, the Ontario Human Rights Commission ordered a public inquiry, which was scheduled for January.
Fantino — whose name was withdrawn from the human rights complaint as part of yesterday's agreement — called the raid an "unfortunate incident" by "well-intentioned, honest" officers that has been "blown right out of proportion."
The force shouldn't have to "bow to all kinds of pressures," he said in an interview."We have made extraordinary efforts to reach out and work with all entities in the community," Fantino said.
"I don't believe for one moment that they acted in a way that infringed, on anybody, or intended to infringe on anybody's rights or entitlements."
Those comments drew a forceful reaction from two of the original complainants. "I'm really glad (Fantino's) going," said Chanelle Gallant. "What a slap in the face. He's doing all this PR — going on the cover of Fab magazine, going to Pride. But it's all so meaningless."
"This is about accepting people," said an astonished Carlyle Jansen.
The police board settlement promises a number of groundbreaking changes within the Toronto police force and its interactions with the city's gay and lesbian community. They include:
Training programs for police officers on gay and lesbian sensitivity, particularly when it comes to inspecting gay and lesbian venues, businesses and bathhouses, and interactions with transgendered people.
A new "gender-sensitive" board policy regarding police attendance at places "occupied solely by women in a state of partial or complete undress," as well as a policy regarding the search and detention of transgendered people.
A signed apology by the five male police officers who conducted the bathhouse raid on Sept. 15, 2000, stating they did not intend to breach the rights or privacy of the 300 or so women in attendance that night.
Every officer leaving the force will be handed a confidential survey on behalf of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, asking if they are leaving because, in part, they felt they were targets of discrimination.
Jansen said she hoped the voluntary officer exit surveys will help change the culture of the 5,260-member Toronto force.
"It's a way of monitoring whether the police are dealing with discrimination within the force as well as outside," she said. "If it's okay to discriminate within the force, you are going to have fewer people representing diverse communities within the force and that will reflect how they deal with people outside."
With files from Bruce Demara
and Paul Moloney
Note its important to appreciate what Cheif Julian Fantino
cannot say publicly, first, he can't slam our Ontario government or the Attorney General of Ontario, Ontario Judges or the rampant lesbian of a judge who made this decision against the Toronto Police.
I think any objective reader will be revolted by the fact that such a well known radical lesbian judge made a decision in favour of her own political agenda.
The truth is that judges are appointed in Ontario for political purposes and in Ontario we have an incredible number of lesbian judges who are famous for promoting hatred towards men.
The judge who held the inquiry about the Toronto Police was Jean Macfarland who is a well known rampant lesbian,
Fantino should have laid into the Attorney General for allowing such an obvious apprehension of bias but understandably he did not have the balls to protest any corruption by his own employer, the Ontario Government.
Check this radical feminist page
National Action Committee
applauds Jane Doe's victory
By Joan Grant-CummingsI strongly encourage all of us to make the document of Justice Jean MacFarland a must-read personally, share it with feminists sisters and use it in courses that we teach. It reads like a feminist document. Jane Doe's language and the language of the feminist movement is used liberally in the document and the judge is so emphatic about the systemic gender discrimination of the police and the fact that the police only engaged in "impression management" versus real change to deal with the problem of their the "rape mythology" biased investigating techniques, that it would be foolhardy and irresponsible at best for the police to appeal this.
Moreover, as Jane Doe so rightly points out and we stated at the Press Conference on the decision, this victory has major implications for other groups of people who encounter systemic discrimination in our interaction with the law and whom the police fail to serve and protect equally as other members of society -- some of course are people of colour, aboriginal peoples, gays and lesbians, and people living in poverty.
The judgment is very emphatic about police accountability to women, in particular in cases of male violence against women and how police investigate and prosecute. The evidence Judge MacFarland used from past police practices and the "Paul Godfrey" Police Task Force on Violence Against Women and Children that demonstrated the ultimate in sexism within the police force is still shocking to us even though it has long been our analysis that this exists.
As with the many cases in the past that the Legal Education Action Fund (LEAF) has chosen this one is a landmark that not only inches us along but propels us miles in dealing with state accountability where women's "security issues" and the violation of our human rights are concerned.
This case also makes the point that feminist women have been saying all along -- we are not about victims' rights which do not address the fundamental issues of equality, we are about the protection and respecting of women's inherent human rights.
Then there is the news from the "pussy palace"
The PussyPalace Toronto
- palace reviews
- raid articles
- committee responses
On the night of Thursday, September 14, 2000, at approximately 1 am, five male plainclothes police officers entered the Pussy Palace -- a city licensed and regulated bathhouse and spent one and a half hours walking among and eyeing the women.
The police knew that this was a women-only event and they knew that women would be in various stages of undress. Despite this they chose to send male rather than female officers. We do not understand why the Toronto police force felt that they needed to send five large male officers to ensure that we were complying with liquor license regulations. Many women at the event were deeply angered and traumatized by the police raid and some of them chose to leave at that point. The police spent an hour and a half at the event: they searched the premises from 12:45 to 2:15 a.m.
The police actions on Thursday September 14, 2000, are another example of the long-standing police harassment of the lesbian, gay, bi and trans communities. The laws regulating sex and public nudity are unclear and inconsistently enforced. This was a disturbing instance of homophobic police harassment and seriously draws into question the sincerity of the police as they claim to be building bridges with the lesbian, gay, bi and trans communities.
Pussy Palace Raid Charges - Dismissed
Historic Gay Rights Court Decision:
Charges against Women's Bathhouse organizers dismissed.
If you have questions about the raid please e-mail a committee member.
THE DEFENSE FUND NEEDS YOU!
Our fight to protect the Pussy Palace is being funded entirely by donations from folks like you, our supporters. If you would like to contribute, please send a cheque or money order to:
Women's Bath house Defense Fund
175 Harbord Street
Want to make a credit card donation?
No problem, just call 416-588-0900 and let them know that you would like to contribute to the Women's bath house Defense Fund. Credit card donations are processed through the staff at Good For Her (a store).
Note: We are not a Revenue Canada registered charitable organization and therefore cannot offer a tax receipt.
copyright 2002-2004 toronto women's bath house committee
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