Myth: The cops didn’t apologize for the Pussy Palace raid

The more left-wing you are, even if you actually received an apology from the police, the more likely you are to claim the police never apologized for the raid on the Pussy Palace bathhouse in September 2000. But they did apologize.

Shall we look at some examples?

  • Janaya “The Conditions of a Race War” Khan, Black Lives Matter Toronto:

    1. In Now, Khan wrote: “The Toronto Police Service recently issued a formal statement saying it ‘regretted’ the 1981 bathhouse raids, but has made no statement on the Pussy Palace raid in 2000.” (That’s because the Pussy Palace raid was completely settled years before.)

    2. At the press conference on 2016.07.07, Khan said: “The police have consistently targetted our communities, have consistently brutalized us, have historically erased us. There’s still been no apology for the Pussy Palace raids in 2000.” (Except there has.)

  • Chanelle Gallant, a glossolalic lesbian genderqueer who was actually at Pussy Palace, complained to the press that the cops never apologized for the raid. She also arrogated the right to reject the police’s expression of regret on behalf of gay men from 30-odd years previous.

    1. In a staged E-mail Q&A with the Globe, Gallant says:

      These charges were all later thrown out and we won a $350,000 settlement against the Toronto Police Service for their treatment [and also won an apology]. It was considered to be a violation of our human rights, the way that they conducted the raid. […]

      We appreciate the apology that has been given by the police in regard to the 1981 bathhouse raids is well-intentioned and that it speaks to an improved relationship between some members of the LGBTQ [sic] and police. But we didn’t feel like it spoke to all of the issues that remain[.]

    2. Gallant got the CBC on the blower:

      The apology from Toronto Police for the bathhouse raids indicates an improved relationship between some more privileged members of the LGBTQ community and police, according to Gallant. “It doesn’t reflect a change in the actual practices of the police. I think it is tokenism,” she said.

    3. Quite self-evidently she used Twitter to blast herself nearly 30 years into the past:

      Toronto Police apologized for the bathhouse raids. Apology not accepted by those in the 2000 women’s bathhouse raid[.]

    (Gallant didn’t answer a question about why she repeatedly misrepresented the facts to a gullible heterosexualist press and elsewhere.)

In fact, the cops had to apologize

I don’t have a copy of the settlement between Pussy Palace organizers and the police – yet. (Lawyer Frank Addario didn’t answer a question about what encumbrances, if any, he had in releasing it to me.) But the “deliverables” were never a secret. As the Globe reported them (2004.12.18; Kirk Makin):

The five male officers who raided the bathhouse during a lesbian event also apologized in writing for invading the women’s privacy. “To the extent that any of the women attending the bathhouse believed their rights were infringed, the officers regret that their conduct resulted in such a perception,” the apology says….

Under the settlement… the police have also agreed to:

  • Enhance their efforts to recruit gay officers, and to report annually on their success in doing so.

  • Adopt a “gender-sensitive” policy which officers must abide by if they attend locations occupied solely by women who may be partly or fully undressed.

  • Carry out confidential surveys of members who leave the force to find out whether racism, homophobia or other forms of discrimination prompted their decision to resign.

The Toronto Police Service will also pay $350,000 to the complainants. The money will go toward specific charities and to cover legal fees.

The fact is that the Toronto police did apologize for the Pussy Palace raid (and paid complainants 350 grand). Interestingly, they used the word “regret” when they did it. So when you hear someone like Janaya Khan or Chanelle Gallant claiming otherwise, they’re wrong. Or just lying.