CPS Continues Its Work With LGBTQ2S+ Community 20 Years After Goliath’s Arrests
Today, Monday Dec. 12, 2022, marks 20 years since the Calgary Police Service legally executed a search warrant at Goliath’s Bathhouse after complaints from the community led to a police investigation into activities at the business. Goliath’s is a club that was established in 1987 and serves male-identified patrons.
While a legitimate and professional investigation, the Goliath’s Bathhouse case in 2002 was a flashpoint for many in the LGBTQ2S+ community and shaped the views of many in Calgary’s gender and sexually diverse community. It is 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. 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.
Today, Chief Constable Mark Neufeld joins members of the Gender and Sexual Diversity Advisory Board to deliver an acknowledgment of the Goliath’s Bathhouse raid. This will be the second time the Service and the board have worked together towards reconciliation.
In 2018, the CPS became the first police service in Canada to issue a formal apology to Calgary’s gender and sexually diverse community for actions of the past. The apology was released publicly on July 27, 2018.
“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. Our efforts to support equity, diversity and inclusion is woven throughout the fabric of our Service. It is now at the core of everything we do,” said Chief Constable Mark Neufeld. “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.”
Prior to the public acknowledgment, our Gender and Sexual Diversity Liaison spoke with some of the individuals who had their charges stayed or withdrawn to explain how they can go about having their fingerprints and photographs removed from the CPS database in the event those records are still on file.
It is our hope that this acknowledgement, along with the other ways we are reaching out to and engaging the community, will help our relationship with the gender and sexually diverse community to continue moving forward.
We acknowledge that the 2002 raid at Goliath’s Bathhouse caused enormous pain and trauma for everyone involved. This incident had, and continues to have, a lasting impact on the individuals who were arrested and charged and has also had a negative effect on the relationship between the police and the larger LGBTQ2S+ community in Calgary.
We appreciate the community coming forward and expressing their concerns to us regarding the events of that evening 20 years ago. While we cannot fully understand the impact this situation had on every person involved, we do know that our participation contributed to the trauma they experienced. Our relationship with gender and sexually diverse Calgarians has changed since 2002, but we know there is more work to do.
We are committed to listening and engaging with members of the LGBTQ2S+ community to learn how we can provide you with the most compassionate and equitable police services possible. We are committed to learning, evolving, and to working with Calgarians to create the kind of relationships that allow people to feel comfortable having these difficult, but important conversations with our members.
The CPS is absolutely committed to encouraging and protecting safe spaces, including those for LGBTQ2S+ Calgarians, and to safeguarding all businesses, and citizens from hate-induced harm.