Canada: Montreal police apologize for raids on gay bars between '60s and '90s

Just a few days after Canada Montreal Pride 2017 made a statement calling a Montreal police intervention “excessive,” police chief Philippe Pichet said sorry to the LGBTQ community.

The public apology addressed the violent raids on gay bars that took place in the city from the 1960s to the 1990s. Some of the bars’ queer patrons would be put in jail, doors would be broken down and machine guns were used at some raids. 

“These actions compromised the dignity of these people,” Pichet said at city hall on Friday. As society has evolved to become more sensitive to these issues, so too has the Montreal police force, he added.

Several of the city’s LGBTQ representatives were invited to city hall for the apology, including Montreal Pride president and founder Éric Pineault. Many of them signed the city’s Golden Book afterward.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre was also present, and followed up on his promise to “reconcile and apologize” to the city’s LGBTQ community.

“We had a tainted past in certain areas, and … the best way to reconcile is to make sure that we recognize what happened,” he said.

Coderre added that the city will put together a working group to develop a sexual diversity and gender plurality policy. This would involve a code of ethics that ensures the city develops adequate vocabulary, proper infrastructure — like gender-neutral bathrooms — and a liaison agent for the LGBTQ community. Read more via Montreal Gazette