July 17, 2019 2:48 am
Updated: July 17, 2019 8:48 am

Chief Girt says he ‘looks forward’ to potential review of police response during altercation at Hamilton Pride

Hamilton police Chief Eric Girt says he will answer questions about police deployment at the 2019 pride event should "adjudicative bodies" undertake a review.

Will Erskine / Global News

Discussion around a potential independent investigation of the Hamilton Police Service will be “new business” during Thursday’s police services board meeting at City Hall.

Last Friday two city councillors, Ward 1 councillor Maureen Wilson and Ward 3 councillor Nrinder Nann, expressed concerns on how police were deployed June 15 when a disturbance broke out during Hamilton Pride festivities at Gage Park.

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In the written request, Wilson and Nann said the relationship between Hamilton police, the city of Hamilton, and the LGBTQ2+ community has been “fractured.”

LISTEN: Hamilton Police Chief Eric Girt joins the Bill Kelly show to talk relations with the LGBTQ2+ community and traffic safety.

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In his latest town hall on Global News Radio 900 CHML, Police Chief Eric Girt said he would be open to an independent review of the incident at Pride as opposed to “a trial or a review strictly in the media.”

“What you’ve got is one side of the story,” said Girt who believes police should respond to such matters through “adjudicated bodies.”

READ MORE: Hamilton mayor meets with LGBTQ2+ community while councillors call for independant police review

“I don’t think that it’s productive to have a trial or a review strictly in the media. I think we have oversight bodies. They have the authority to review those things and those things are in place for particular reasons.”

In addressing criticisms by some, particularly from LGBTQ2+ supporters suggesting police “hung back” in response to the violence on June 15, Girt said, “individual decisions” from officers were in play.

“Without getting into the specifics, again Officer safety is a concern,” Girt said, “You may have four or five combatants for whatever reason, you may have to wait to get back up. It depends on the situation there’s no kind of standard answer. It’s an assessment by the officer at the time with what is happening in front of them.”

READ MORE: Cedar Hopperton released from jail following arrest for anti-police remarks

Several citizens are expected to present depositions at the board meeting on Thursday in addition to the reading of letters from the public.

It’s unclear whether Girt will reveal police tactics related to the event at Pride and what they’ve been doing to monitor more recent City Hall protests on the weekend.

In his last town hall with Global News Radio in June, Girt said officers at Gage would have been “deployed differently” if police were invited to the Pride event.

READ MORE: Police arrest 2nd suspect in Hamilton homicide, 3rd suspect still at large

“We were asked not to be at the event and we remained in the perimeter,” Girt told Global News radio.

On Tuesday’s town hall with Bill Kelly, Girt suggested it would be up to the board on Thursday to decide what information he could potentially reveal about police’s tactics at the event.

“Depending on the actions of the board, who is my governance body and oversight body amongst many, is they’ll make a determination at that time,” said Girt.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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