Toronto Chief Slams Gay Ruling
December 19, 2004
By Jan Prout 365Gay.com Toronto Bureau
Toronto, Ontario—Toronto Police
Chief Julian Fantino says his officers do not need LGBT sensitivity
training—a requirement under a settlement ending a legal dispute over a raid
on a lesbian bathhouse night four years ago.
“It’s being forced on us,” Fantino told the Toronto
Star newspaper. “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.”
Under the agreement worked out between the Police
Services Board—Fantino’s boss—and women who accused the force of
heavy-handedness over the raid, all Toronto police, from the chief to cadets,
will undergo LGBT sensitivity training and the force will pay $350,000 (Cdn).
Police board chair Pam McConnell said Fantino’s
objections would not prevent “these important” actions from being put into
“This is not the jurisdiction of the chief of
police,” McConnell told The Star. “This is the jurisdiction of the board.
I think human rights in our city should be taken exceedingly seriously.”
Police entered the Club Toronto in the early hours of
Sept. 15, 2000 during a lesbian event known as the “Pussy Palace.” More
than 100 women, many naked, were in the building at the time. The officers,
all male, spent 90 minutes walking through the facility in Toronto’s gay
village, opening doors to private cubicles and questioning the women.
At the time police insisted the raid was a routine liquor
license inspection and claimed they gave the women an opportunity to dress.
Two women who had obtained a special occasion permit
under the Ontario Liquor License Act were charged with several offences,
including permitting disorderly conduct and serving alcohol after hours.
On January Jan. 31, 2002 they were acquitted. In
delivering his verdict, Mr. Justice Peter Hryn of the Ontario Court of Justice
was critical of the police conduct. Hryn said the officers’ entry into the
club was comparable to a strip search, calling it outrageous, flagrant,
deliberate, unjustified and a violation of the women’s constitutional
The settlement requires the five male police officers who
conducted the raid to issue signed apologies to the 300 women who were
attending the “Pussy Palace” event the night of the raid.
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