Pawns in police infighting?

Activists fear that 19 men arrested in the Bijou raids are stuck in the middle of a bitter stand-off between cops in cars and their masters.

Following reports that the chief Crown attorney had been asked to make the matter go away by the head of 52 Division, coppers began worrying aloud about an alleged “secret deal” keeping their bacon bits off the gay sex.

And the Toronto Police Association, a de facto union for the grunts, has filed a 54-page complaint against two top 52 Division managers who have said they were trying to plot a way out of the mess of the Bijou raids.

Union boss Craig Bromell says senior officers just went messin’ where they shouldn’t have been messin’.

“It’s the fact that somebody went behind their back [of the arresting officers] to drop the charges,” says Bromell. “That’s what disturbed us. We want to make sure it doesn’t happen again and that it’s not going on with any other type of offence.

“The issue isn’t the offence, the issue is that the charges were laid and somebody went behind the officers to drop the charges.”

“We could care less about the offence,” Bromell claims. “If you want to change the law, change the law. It doesn’t matter to us.”

Gay activist George Hislop interprets things differently.

“Who the hell is running the police department?” Hislop asks.

“We’re caught in a fight between the police association, police brass, and police services. This association is demanding an investigation into the conduct of its senior officers, who are trying to investigate community policing. What does that mean?

“It would appear that the officers who raided this premise got their dander up, and they kept coming back until they closed the place.”

Police have been enforcing the law without a contract since Jul 1, and the city has broken off negotiations with its 7,000 bobbies.

For now, the union is threatening legal action to force the city to work a deal out. As an “essential service,” coppers don’t have the right to strike, but the force has a history of on-duty job action.

Supt Aidan Maher, head of 52 Division, had earlier promised that he would report back to the community on the status of the Bijou charges at this month’s police advisory committee meeting, hinting that they might be dropped. (That’s at xxpm on Thu, Aug 26 at the 519 Church Street Community Centre.)

But the union’s complaint means that an internal police investigation is now focussing on Maher.

The matter is in chief Crown attorney Paul Culver’s hands now, and he doesn’t anticipate an announcement until September.

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