Toronto
4 min

The new spin

Cops might have been set up, says police officer

HEAR ME ROAR. Carlyle Jansen says there will be a giant vulva at the demo Sat, Oct 28 at 52 Division. Credit: Mark Bogdanovic

A top cop says he doesn’t want to encourage conspiracy theories – but he says it’s quite possible the Pussy Palace women were hoping for police to raid.



“They were prepared for our arrival and reacted with a certain outrage when we arrived,” says Supt Bill Blair, the head of corporate communications.



“If not the organizers, somebody wanted the police to [visit]. There is not enough evidence to say organizers caused police to come.”



Blair says the two telephone complaints received by the cops about the Pussy Palace women’s bathhouse night seem funny.



The first was received on the Monday prior to the Sep 14 event; it was an anonymous tip from a woman who said she is a lesbian and complained about things that went on at a previous Pussy Palace.



The second call was received the day of, and came from a different lesbian. Blair insists both were external – they were not from police officers, undercover or otherwise. The second caller demanded to know whether police would attend the Club Toronto one-night-only event, and made similar allegations.



Blair says the telephone numbers and calls were recorded, but refuses to give out any more information.



“I have no intention to add to the conspiracy theories out there… [but] this one’s tough.



“I have the details. It leads you to a number of different conclusions. This one looks really strange.”



“When we got there, organizers were handing out material saying police are likely to come, here’s what to do [including a list of what’s legal and illegal in public]. It indicates media will attend.



“It causes you to question how shocked people were. When we got there, people were quite prepared for our arrival, the press was there.”



A Globe And Mail reporter was there. She was the same reporter who wrote about a past Pussy Palace.



Says Blair: “I’m quite satisfied that how we came to be there was quite reasonable.”



Carlyle Jansen says alleging that organizers called the cops on themselves is ludicrous.



“Oh my God. I can’t believe that,” she says in between peels of laughter. “What, so that we could have a big media frenzy? Oh for heaven’s sake. That’s someone really being creative.”



She says the gay and lesbian community wants to get along with police.



“I don’t think we want a bad relationship. That’s why bridges have been built. Clearly the bridges gradually being built by the queer community and police are greatly weakened by all of this.”



Jansen admits Pussy Palace women were given info about sex and the law, but refuses to say anything more. Their lawyer has warned them not to discuss anything that occurred on the night of the raid itself.



Meanwhile, the plainclothes officer who ran the raid on the Pussy Palace says he’s staying put.



Despite talk from City Councillor Kyle Rae that Wilson’s three-year term in the 52 Division plainclothes unit is up, Wilson says he knows of no plans to transfer him out.



“That [regular rotation] is true with the officers, but not true with the supervisors.”



And Wilson runs the show.



He also says he’s hired a lawyer to protect his own interests and those of the four officers in his department who visited the women’s bathhouse. All further questions were referred to attorney Michael Freeman.



In turn, Freeman may file a defamation lawsuit against Rae on behalf of his five clients.



“We were hired to address remarks made by councillor Rae,” says Freeman. “No legal action has been commenced at this time.”



After Freeman sent an angry letter, Rae issued a press release at the end of September clarifying earlier comments about “rogue cops” on a “panty raid.” Rae stated it was “not my intention to impugn the personal integrity of those police officers.”



Says Freeman: “You saw what he put in the paper; it was a qualification. I don’t call it an apology. We’ve asked for a proper public apology.”



He says Rae was “malicious.”



Freeman refuses to discuss events at the Pussy Palace itself. “I don’t want to compromise a police investigation.”



As for any concerns Wilson might have with his professional relationship with members of the gay community, Freeman says: “I don’t think I can answer that on his behalf. I don’t think he’s overly concerned. When the dust settles it will be shown that he acted appropriately.”



Freeman refused to say who is paying for his services. He also refused to name his clients “to protect their privacy.”


PUSSIES FIGHT BACK


The grrrls at the impromptu Sep 21 demonstration at Toronto police headquarters yelled “Pussies fight back!”

And they’re hoping to keep the momentum going.

There’ll be a Panty Picket at 2pm on Sat, Oct 28 at 52 Division (at University and McCaul). Don’t wear just panties — “it’s a bit cold for that,” says Carlyle Jansen.

“Bring them with you. Any kind of panties or bras.”

Then there’s money.

The designer of the Pussy Palace website (at www.pussypalacetoronto.com) will donate to the defence fund.

Lynna Landstreet will ask every client of her company, Spider Silk Design, what they think of contributing 10 percent of her fee to the women’s bathhouse committee (www.spidersilk.net).

Landstreet is challenging other businesses to do the same.

And on Oct 13, a volunteer appreciation night was held at Pope Joan (on Parliament St) to thank the close to 100 women who’ve helped out with the four Pussy Palaces held in the last two years. About 60 people showed up, says Jansen.

Special thank-you tiaras were given out to city councillors Olivia Chow and Kyle Rae, and to Rae’s executive assistant Chris Phibbs. But the big gifts were boas — they’re worn by the bigshot grrrls. Lawyer Frank Addario’s is purple.

Cheques for the Toronto Women’s Bath House Legal Defense Fund can be sent to 175 Harbord St, Toronto M5S 1H3.