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Chief takes full responsibility for Hamilton Pride Fiasco

There was no fireworks and no quibbling over details when the Scott Bergman Report into the 2019 Hamilton Pride violence was presented to the Hamilton Police Services Board. Chief Eric Girt immediately followed one of the 37 recommendations contained in the report, issuing a fulsome apology for the HPSD mishandling of the event, and for his remarks in the media afterwards that triggered an outcry from the Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+1 community. “As Chief, I take full responsibility,” the Chief said.”I recognize that it will take years to repair the relationship between the service and The Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+1 communities, and I am prepared to do that work.”

Scoot Bergman, responding to questions from board member Tom Jackson, repeated that he had received full cooperation from HPS staff and officers in providing documents and members of the service as witnesses. Bergman said he did believe that the willingness to improve relations with the Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+1 community was genuine. The board voted to accept the Bergman report in full and to establish a task force to implement the many recommendations in the report. Among them was make the appointment of a liaison person to work with the Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+1 community a full-time position. In addition, the report recommended an audit of the culture of the Police Service. In discussion with Board members, Bergman suggested that community groups be consulted during the process of implementing the report’s recommendations—a suggestion that was also endorsed by board member Pat Mandy. She added that there needs to be sensitivity in dealing with community groups of the power disparity between citizen groups and Police.

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