Police Assault On Pride Weekend

    2 July 2005, the wee hours

Bill Blair, our new police chief, made some history last Sunday by being the first Toronto police chief to participate in the Gay Pride Parade. Although it isn’t such a big deal in the grand scheme of things, I thought that was quite impressive. I can’t even picture the old police chief, Fantino, watching the Pride Parade. Blair seems to be making an effort to change the public perception of the police. I think Blair can do it, but he has his work cut out for him. The day before the Pride Parade, Amir Ebrahimnia, who runs the popular martini bar Babylon on Church St, had his bar shut down for over-crowding. Once the place was cleared out, the cops proceeded to beat the shit out of the man. (Dave found this story, which I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere else. It strikes me as newsworthy.)

Update: Even Dave finds him self doubting the authenticity of this story. As far as I can tell, the only reports of this story all link back to the article I linked to here. There is no new information on the internet about this attack, besides the original article. It seems shady. Nevertheless, it’d be nice if some journalist looked into this.

Update: The article is getting a lot more play. BlogTO is now discussing it, though they link to a thread elsewhere on the net. My doubts about the story are growing. This seems like the sort of scandal that you would like to think is hard to cover up. If this is true—which is very well might be, the police force in Toronto has a pretty bad history when it comes to dealing with the gay community—then it says a lot that this story can go for so long without getting any sort of attention from the press.

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Comments

  1. The story of police brutality is at once unbelievable and too real to be a hoax. I want to head downtown just to walk by babylon and check things out.

  2. Police misuse of power always erks me. I hate it when they cruise down the shoulder when there is no emergency, or when they don’t resepct any regular traffic courtesy like singnaling, or obeying red lights. On the other hand, I don’t think that police corruption is that huge a problem in Toronto, and this story seems like an exaggeration. Though if it were true, then the officers should certainly be dealt with.

    On the other hand, I feel that I dislike club owners more then I do police officers. They’re often rude and have big egos. This person sounds reasonably smart, and as such reasonably good at crafting a story to his liking. Perhaps he did more to aggrevate the situation then he says, like delaying the clearing process for a long time through his speaches, or being very un-cooperative (ignoring them, taking a very long time to do things, etc.) These facts would take some investigation to figure out I’m sure.

  3. First of all, it’s actually Bill Blair.

    Second of all, this is the first I’ve heard of the alleged assault. If the reports are genuine, then obviously it’s a matter that must be taken very seriously. But I searched for corroboration and couldn’t find any – not through Google, not through the Toronto Police website, and not even through alternative and gay media like Now, Eye, Fab and Xtra, in spite of the fact that it’s been over a week since this allegedly happened. Are you sure that this is for real?

  4. I still haven’t found anything else either, just links back to the original story. I’ve been looking as well. It just struck me as a very strange/intricate story to fabricate. I’ll feel like a sucker if it is all just a prank. (Fixed your Dad’s name.)

  5. Thanks, dude. The thing that set alarms off in my head about it is the fact that the police and the gay community have had some rough going in recent years. For a much more serious offense like this not to have provoked widespread outrage when they’ve been trying for years to come to common ground on the bath house raids, for example, makes me doubt that it happened.

  6. Man, the last few comments in the BlogTO thread are scary to say the least. To sum up, for those who haven’t read: being a jerk is a legitimate reason for the police to beat you up. Some of the comments aren’t even about the assult, they’re about how crappy the service at Babylon is. The world is full of fucking idiots.

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