Calgary police acknowledge 2002 Goliath’s Bathhouse raid

Calgary police acknowledge 2002 Goliath’s Bathhouse raid

The Calgary Police Service (CPS) is acknowledging its role and faults in the 2022 Goliath’s Bathhouse raid.

Calgary bathhouse

Calgary Police are acknowledging the pain and trauma that derived from a 2002 bathhouse raid. Twenty years and multiple criminal charges later, CPS is trying to make things right.

Goliath’s Bathhouse serves Calgary’s gay community and was established in 1987.

Police described the raid as “an event that is regularly singled out by community members as a negative experience with the police – whether they were arrested in the bathhouse or not.”

“When we looked back at this event, it was clear that the Service would handle the same situation very differently today,” a statement from police reads. “The Service stands by the investigation but would be far more engaged with the community to minimize the impacts if a similar investigation were conducted today.”

The raid happened Dec. 12, 2002. Officers broke down the bathhouse’s doors claiming the operation was fronting as a brothel after receiving an anonymous tip.

The search resulted in two employees and 13 patrons being charged with bawdy-house-related offences. Community advocates at the time declared the raid as anti-gay harassment.

After a long court battle, charges against those who were arrested were implemented and dropped.

Former Calagry bathhouse employee

Andrew Brassard, the current owner of the Goliath’s Saunatel and Texas Lounge, says the Calgary police moved in the right direction but says this wasn’t a strong point.

“There was no positive that came out of this for anyone. Not for the community, not for this business, not for the police, not for the crown,” Brassard said.

“I’ve never heard of a swingers club getting raided. The only real difference between the two is one’s not straight.”

‘There are things we would do differently’

Calgary Police Chief Constable Mark Neufeld acknowledged CPS’ role in the raid Monday.

“The goal of this acknowledgement is to share with the community that when we look back, there are things we would do differently if given the chance to do them again today … Acknowledging the role our Service has played in causing trauma to Calgarians with diverse gender identities, gender expressions and sexual orientations is a way to demonstrate to the community that we have evolved as an organization and that we are listening to the concerns they have raised – even those concerns that are based on past experiences,” Neufeld said.

A sling inside of Goliath's Bathhouse in Calgary.

A sling inside of Goliath’s Bathhouse in Calgary.

This marks the second time the Calgary Police Service has addressed its tumultuous relationship with the 2SLGBTQ+ community. In 2018, Roger Chaffin, who was the police chief at the time, apologized to the city’s 2SLGBTQ+ community for CPS’ role the bathhouse raid, as well as for the relationship between police and 2SLGBTQ+ folks as a whole.

No Comments

Post a Comment