The Toronto Start reports that an after-hours venue in Toronto known as Comfort Zone is suing the Toronto Police Services Board along with the former chief Bill Blair for $23 million.
Comfort Zone claim that the police abused their power to have the club go "out of business". The situation began in 2008 when a 26 year old man died just hours after supposedly being present at the venue. This prompted authorities to arrange an undercover operation called Operation White Rabbit in which agents confiscated $35,000 cash along with GHB, cocaine, heroin and ecstasy valued at $30,000. They also also charged 33 patrons that were inside the venue.
The lawsuit claims that police "destroyed video surveillance equipment and electronics, and kept scores of patrons and staff handcuffed for up to five hours," reports the Star. Following the 2008 incident, Comfort Zone claim that police “harassed patrons and staff and encouraged them not to attend.”
In response to the lawsuit, the defendants state that all officers act “in a professional, competent and appropriate fashion” and they deny all allegations.
Barry Swadron, lawyer for Comfort Zone, told the Star in an interview said that the venue, “caters to that sector of the population who wish to listen to music, dance, eat and enjoy themselves after the closing hours of bars and nightclubs. Toronto is a world-class city and the after-hours community want and should have a place to go.
“Comfort Zone serves a useful purpose,” Swadron stated. “It is located in the centre of the city. It is extremely careful to ensure that it complies with the laws and acceptable procedures relating to health, safety and security.”
“Rather than trying to shut it down, the Toronto police should live with Comfort Zone in a spirit of peaceful coexistence,” said Swadron.
[via: The Toronto Star]
[photo by John Vetterli]