City of Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino went on the offensive after being told he and every member of his police force would have to take a gay sensitivity course. "It's being forced on us," Fantino said
Link: All Toronto police ordered to take training in Gay sensitivity
The force shouldn't have to "bow to all kinds of pressures," Fantino told the Toronto Star in an interview."We have made extraordinary efforts to reach out and work with all entities in the community."
The gay sensitivity course is part of a settlement in a class action legal case against the the City of Toronto and the Toronto Police. The suit was filed against the police after the police raided lesbian bathhouse four years ago.
Five male officers raided the lesbian bathhouse, that was occupied by hundreds of women, many of whom were only partly dressed. The Ontario Court of Justice ruled the raid to be an "outrageous, flagrant, deliberate, unjustified violation of the women's Charter rights"
"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," said Fantino.
The Toronto Star says the Police Chief's 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."
The five officers involved in the raid are also required to issue signed letters of apology to the women that were in attendance the night the police spent five hours on their dubious liquor inspection.
Toronto's police board will take the following action as a result of the settlement;
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.
With files from the Toronto Star
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