Terry Haldane, Stephen Lock & the 2002 Goliath’s Bathhouse Raid
At around 2:30 PM on a Thursday, Calgary Police Service officers invaded one of our community’s safe havens, Goliath’s Bathhouse. This surprise raid occurred on December 12, 2002. In this series of blog posts, we will delve into the history of the Goliath’s raid. Along the way, we will explore injustice, changing queer culture and our complicated relationship with the police, past and present.
Read Part 2: The Court Battle: here.
The relationship between police and various minority communities is a contentious and current issue: the Goliath’s Raid is an interesting case study.
Reflecting on the conduct of state agents, it appears both police officers and the case’s Crown prosecutor behaved professionally and compassionately. During the raid, one married man was so upset about the implications for his marriage, family, and religious community that he felt like throwing up. However, an officer came and reassured him that it was not like a murder or robbery charge, describing it as quite a minor thing. The Crown prosecutor generally avoided airing dirty laundry in the trial, and tried to get a publication ban on the names. According to Terry, he told Terry’s lawyer at tennis that a case like this is the last thing he’d want to be assigned because it made no sense. Even as far back as the 80s, Terry had positive, supportive experiences with police, especially when he experienced a brutal gay-bashing and multiple officers visited him, with one even giving Terry soup his wife had made.
Regarding the organization as a whole, Terry and Stephen still think the Calgary Police Service has yet to take full responsibility. Stephen brought up at a liaison meeting that then-police chief Jack Beaton should apologize. They privately learned later that Jack Beaton felt a tension between maintaining a healthy relationship with the community and his duty to investigate crime, and he did apparently ask the police commission if an apology could be issued, but was denied as they thought it would be seen as admitting fault. Calgary Police Service chief Roger Chaffin did apologize in July 2018 for “not fully considering the impacts of a 2002 Goliath’s bathhouse raid and the impacts that would have on the community […] we are sorry for the role we played in this part of your painful past.” Despite this, Terry and Stephen feel the apology wasn’t full-throated enough in explicitly taking responsibility.
As mentioned earlier, prior to 2002, the relationship between police and gays was improving and actively being bettered. Though the raid felt like a backstabbing, Terry and Stephen also felt that within about five years, the relationship had mostly re-healed. They now see that relationship being threatened again by current discourse and political movements. Regarding the movement to exclude police from Pride, they have the sentiment of “how dare you” after their work on building that relationship. They respect Calgary Pride’s right to run their organization as they see fit and to be inclusive, but they don’t see this as a productive path forward. In response to the call to defund the police, Terry actually banded together with an officer’s mother and Brett Wilson (formerly of Dragon’s Den) to mobilize against this movement.
It is worth pointing out that Terry and Stephen’s story is primarily a reflection of white cisgender gay men’s interaction with police. People from different racial, economic, and gender backgrounds have experienced interactions with police that vary: with some people having no interactions or positive interactions, and others experiencing real discrimination and abuse from police. Nevertheless, it is still useful to look at this event as an example of how the police’s relationship with minority groups can be damaged and repaired depending on both party’s actions and attitudes.
In this case, the police put in the initiative to work with the gay community in the 1990s, betrayed that trust in 2002, and then spent the subsequent years rebuilding and finally apologizing—all of which required buy-in, hard work, forgiveness, and self-advocacy from members of the community. Both groups stand to benefit from one another: the police gain cooperation and insight from a community that may be harder to engage, and the gay community gains better protection and a reduced experience of discrimination from police. It is astonishing that people who faced direct discrimination from police encroachment on their sexuality are able to hold a pro-police position and then afterward work to help them connect with the community. It is a testament to the power of forgiveness.
As it stands, it seems at least some of the white gay male community has re-established a relatively functional relationship with the police. The case is not so with all members of the LGBTQ2+ community, each racial and gender community potentially facing injustice with varying degrees of severity. It is up to each community to determine if and how their relationship with the police can be mended. It is up to the police to put in the effort to adapt and build a cooperative relationship with them. CPS says that they are committed to serving our minority communities. Can we hold them to that and work with them to let them know what we need?
Next week: Part 4.