Big Foot Busts? Toronto Police Sued For Allegedly Profiling Women Based On Hairy Legs

Seven protesters are suing Toronto police for $1.4 million, claiming they were unfairly arrested and abused after being profiled by police, who looked for such things as “hairy legs.” That allegedly was one of the ways used to spot protesters — presumably those women with shaven legs were allowed to pass freely by the officers.

The women say that they were not only unfairly arrested and detained but sexually abused while in The seven were arrested on June 27, 2010 after they came out of a downtown pizza shop. The women say they were searched by male officers despite women officers being present and subjected to “derogatory and homophobic slurs.”

Their lawyers says that a profile developed by the senior police officials “included markers such as people who have backpacks, lawyers’ numbers on their arms, people with Quebec licence plates, people speaking French, people wearing black clothing.”

The complaint alleges that Police Supt. Mark Fenton characterized demonstrators as “protester terrorists.” The Ontario Independent Police Review Director has conducted an investigation into the incident and noted in its report that a constable wrote in his arrest notes that “all parties appear to be protesters; back packs; clothing and females all have hairy legs.” The arresting officer explained that “hairy legs” was an indicator he associated with female G20 protesters.

For full disclosure, I remain lead co-counsel (with Dan Schwartz of the Bryan Cave law firm) representing journalists and observers who were unfairly arrested during the World Bank/IMF protects in 2002. That case is still in discovery after it was discovered that key pieces of evidence had been destroyed or lost.

Source: CTV

18 thoughts on “Big Foot Busts? Toronto Police Sued For Allegedly Profiling Women Based On Hairy Legs”

  1. When you’re in America you do as Americans do. Women shave.

    Men only shave their faces, sometimes.

    Birgit shaved. She was born in Illinois.

  2. We had two girls in our high school class who were exchange students from Sweden. They were liked but thought of as a bit odd. One day one of them wore knee high pants, revealing a forest of hair. News of this spread like wildfire within the school. Quite a sensation it was. Some guys were betting whether or not they had hairy underarms. The were well shorn a day or two later.

  3. And another followup.

    Lt. John Pike, UC Davis Pepper Spray Cop, Resigns from UC Davis

    By – Posted on 01 August 2012
    Uc Davis Pepper Spray Report

    By Tyler Kingkade
    The Huffington Post, August 1, 2012

    Lt. John Pike, the campus police officer who pepper sprayed seated student protesters, is no longer working at the University of California, Davis, the Sacramento Bee reports.

    UC Davis spokesman Barry Shiller declined to elaborate or explain whether he was fired or left on his own accord.

    “Consistent with privacy guidelines established in state law and university policy, I can confirm that John Pike’s employment with the university ended on July 31, 2012,” Shiller told the Bee.

    Claudia Morain, News Service Director at UC Davis, also confirmed Pike’s departure to CNN but would not go into details. Pike also declined to comment when reached by the Bee.

    The Nov. 18, 2011 episode in which Pike blasted military grade pepper spray on unarmed students demonstrating against tuition hikes and budget cuts caused a nationwide uproar on college campuses. It lead to multiple internal investigations and reports. Pike was suspended with pay in the immediate aftermath.

    According to The Atlantic, Pike was still on administrative leave as recently as July 17, 2012.

    A task force report on the UC Davis pepper-spraying incident, released on April 11, found Pike’s decision to use pepper spray on seated protesters was “not authorized by policy” and “critically flawed.”

    “There is little factual basis supporting Lt. Pike’s belief that he was trapped by the protesters or that his officers were prevented from leaving the quad,” the report stated. “Further, there is little evidence that any protesters attempted to use violence against the police.”

    Students who say they were victims of the pepper spraying are suing campus police officers, including Pike, and the university, the Bee reports. Pike faced a previous lawsuit over an alleged anti-gay slur in 2003; that case was settled in 2008.

    The University of California Police Department has been cited for using excessive force on unarmed student protesters before. Students have been demonstrating at UC campuses for the past several years against budget cuts and increases to tuition and fees.

  4. Speaking of cops overdoing things, a followup…………

    Anthony Bologna, NYPD Cop Who Pepper-Sprayed Occupy Protesters, Will Get No Help From City In Lawsuit

    By – Posted on 04 August 2012

    By Christopher Mathias
    Huffington Post, August 3, 2012

    Anthony Bologna– the NYPD Deputy Inspector caught on video pepper-spraying two women Occupy Wall Street protesters in Union Square last fall– could have to dig into his own pockets to pay for the damages in the women’s civil lawsuit against him. New York City has opted not to defend Bologna in court, The Wall Street Journal reports.

    The decision indicates the city finds the 29-year NYPD veteran’s defense of his actions inadequate, and is a stark contrast from NYPD spokesman Paul Browne’s initial remarks on the incident in September.

    As ProPublica’s Justin Elliot remembers, Browne defended Bologna when video of the pepper-spraying incident started to go viral, saying cops that day used the spray “appropriately.”

    “Pepper spray was used once,” he said, “after individuals confronted officers and tried to prevent them from deploying a mesh barrier — something that was edited out or otherwise not captured in the video.”

    It appears the city now thinks differently.

    Bologna’s attorney disagrees with the decision. “He wasn’t doing this as Anthony Bologna, mister,” Louis La Pietra told The Journal, in hopes the city will come to his client’s aid. “He was doing this as Anthony Bologna, deputy inspector, NYPD.”

    A police union will help pay for Bologna’s defense.

    After the pepper-spray incident, Bologna was docked 10 vacation days and transferred to Staten Island.

    The city Law Department tells The Journal there are currently 1,376 pending federal civil-rights cases against the NYPD. An official estimated that in less than five percent of such cases does the city decline to defend cops.

    News of Bologna’s troubles comes a week after a scathing report on NYPD police abuses during Occupy protests.

    After an eight month investigation by attorneys from Harvard, Stanford and Rutgers, as part of the Protest and Assembly Rights Project, the group determined that the NYPD used unnecessarily aggressive tactics, excessive force, and illegally suppressed press freedoms during Occupy demonstrations. The group called on Mayor Bloomberg to launch an independent inquiry into the police abuses.

  5. Women in Germany don’t shave their legs or underarms unless they’re in America. How do you think I know that? I knew a German girl when I was working in Lake Forest, IL.

    I also knew a Polish girl. The Polish girl got a new car. She paid for it herself. The German girl had to go back to Germany.

    I knew a British girl too. Too bad for me I was still married at the time.

  6. “For full disclosure, I remain lead co-counsel (with Dan Schwartz of the Bryan Cave law firm) representing journalists and observers who were unfairly arrested during the World Bank/IMF protects in 2002.”

    Good for you! Considering how much all governments hate dissent it looks like there’s lifetime job security for any lawyer in the 1st Amendment (or its non-U.S. corollary) business. Lol, I hope you win big, make ’em call you daddy…

  7. When the police lose sight of the laws of the land we are all in trouble. Reminds me of the police in Iran a few years ago, arresting an beating women for wearing white socks.

  8. Les policiers sont des amateurs.

    Profiling 101

    Person A: Riding a bicycle at 03:00 AM with no headlight, wearing all black clothing with a covered face and a hoodie, wearing a backpack and has a screwdriver and a wire cutter and a small flashlight in his back pocket, turns away when seeing you.

    Person B: Thowback to the 1970 clothing, picket sign, beads, chants slogans.

    Question: Which person represents harm to the community of which should warrant your attention?

  9. oink oink oink oink oink oink oink oink oink oink oink oink oink oink oink oink oink oink oink oink oink oink oink oink………all the way home…..

  10. “Charney says that one of his clients asked officers for the reason they were being arrested and was told police ‘would make one up.’”

    “Charney said the group had just come out of a downtown pizza shop when they were surrounded by police, handcuffed, and held for more than 24 hours at a makeshift detention centre. They were eventually released without charges.”

    Hope they win.

  11. Being arrested for having hairy legs sounds like a good reason to protest. Authoritarian types just don’t get it. Arrests for bogus reasons increase the numbers of people who won’t support the cops. Bombing innocent people is terrorism and creates those who want to bomb you back. It’s a matter of scale.

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