Review of police conduct at Hamilton Pride festival will be released next week

An independent report into police conduct at Hamilton's Pride festival last month will be released next week.

The police services board hired an independent reviewer to a maximum of $600K

Several people received minor injuries during an altercation at the 2019 Pride festival in Hamilton. (Imgur)

An independent report into police conduct at Hamilton's Pride festival last month will be released next week.

Scott Bergman, the lawyer doing the review, says the report will be released on Monday, and the public, the media and the Hamilton Police Services (HPS) board will be able to read it at the same time.

The report was originally due in April, but delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The police board hired Bergman, who is with the firm Cooper, Sandler, Shime & Bergman LLP, to do an independent review of what happened at Gage Park on June 15, 2019.

Bergman will determine, among other things, whether the culture of the HPS got the in way of officers responding in a "timely, effective and bias-free way," if any training or policy changes need to happen, and whether police investigated their own conduct after the event.

He said in December that he would potentially talk to hundreds of officers and members of the LGBTQ community. The review will cost a maximum of $600,000.

Toronto lawyer Scott Bergman is doing the independent investigation of Hamilton Police Service and its response to violence at the 2019 Pride festival. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

The review comes after violence erupted at the festival, where protesters bearing religious signs gathered and shouted homophobic phrases through a loudspeaker. A group of anarchists wore pink masks and used a portable black barrier to shield the protesters from view.

    Violence broke out, and several people were injured.

    As for this Pride month, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced festivities to go virtual with a live stream set for June 14.

    Mayor Fred Eisenberger, who also chairs the police services board, had the city raise rainbow and transgender pride flags at city hall Monday. Pride Hamilton board member Cameron Kroetsch said the organization hasn't been involved in it.

    Some other communities have held flag raisings online. In Brantford, Mayor Kevin Davis will join Brantford Bridge and Brantford Pride to do an online flag raising at Brantford city hall on June 13, the city said. This event will be virtual, and live streamed publicly by Brantford Pride and the Brantford Bridge.

    Brant County will stream a Pride flag raising June 8 at 11 a.m. Pride Niagara has included several flag raisings on its Facebook page, including in Grimsby and Lincoln. In Burlington, Mayor Marianne Meed Ward streamed the flag raising live on Facebook on Monday. 

    Haldimand and Norfolk counties don't raise rainbow flags. 



    Samantha Craggs is journalist based in Windsor, Ont. She is executive producer of CBC Windsor and previously worked as a reporter and producer in Hamilton, specializing in politics and city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca