The LGBTQ community says a probe into the actions of Hamilton police at the Pride event last month is a good next step. But some say the mayor’s closed-door meeting yesterday with only a few members of the community, was not appropriate, despite a statement from the mayor saying it was positive & constructive.
In a statement Mayor Fred Eisenberger says “I m sorry for the pain and fear that the two-spirit and LGBTQ+ communities, their friends and allies experienced at the Pride event, and which many are still feeling”. LGBTQ supporters protesting at city hall say the meeting shouldn’t have been on an invite-only basis. Some prominent people in the Pride community refused to meet with the Mayor saying that the meeting should have been open to include the voices of all LGBTQ community members.
The Mayor said he listened and learned from the meeting and said it was a first step in building a stronger relationship with the Pride community. Councillors Nrinder Nann and Maureen Wilson asked for an independent review of Hamilton police’s response to the violence at the Pride celebration on June 15th. The protesters say a review is needed to start fixing the shattered relationship between Hamilton police and the gay community.
Cedar Hopperton, the convicted ringleader of the Locke street violence who identifies as trans. Initially police said Hopperton was arrested for violating parole by attending pride at Gage Park but Hopperton’s lawyer told CHCH News that the parole board meeting a few days ago focused on comments Hopperton made at city hall, after the Pride event Hopperton was quoted telling the group to “Be violent if necessary” to defend themselves.
The pride community, as well as academics across Canada, are calling for Hopperton’s charges to be dropped. A letter shared by Solidarity Halifax, circulating online quotes the Hamilton and district labour council saying “The arrest of Cedar screams of retaliation and pettiness. Such an action is unacceptable at a leadership level”.
The letter has signatures from professors at McMaster University and others from across Canada condemning the violence at Pride and the response from police.