Justin W. Anisman is an Employment Lawyer and principal of Anisman Law. Justin advises both companies and individuals in all aspects of employment law including wrongful dismissal, human rights and discrimination.
Clara Sorrenti (“Ms. Sorrenti”), a transgender woman, advocate, and popular online streamer Keffals on Twitch, has filed a Human Rights Application against the London Police Services and the London Police Services Board (collectively, the “LPS”). The Application is based on the discrimination Ms. Sorrenti experienced due to her gender identity and gender expression, which is contrary to section 1 of the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”).
In August 2022, an anonymous individual impersonating Ms. Sorrenti made phone calls to the Toronto and London Police Services and sent a death threat to London city councillors. An event which was widely reported on by the media:
- NBC News: Trans Twitch streamer Keffals says she was swatted and arrested by police in Ontario
- Global News: Red flags aplenty in London police’s swatting of Twitch streamer Clara Sorrenti: expert
- Washington Post: Twitch streamers traumatized after four ‘swattings’ in a week
- CTV News: ‘Instead of police helping me, they victimized me’: Twitch transgender activist alleges gunpoint ‘swatting’ by London police
Despite warning the LPS in March 2022 that she was at risk of being a target of swatting—a form of harassment where individuals call the police to an individual’s home for the purpose of intimidation, harassment and/or violence—on August 5, 2022, a team of London Police Officers armed with assault rifles attended Ms. Sorrenti’s home without warning and arrested her at gunpoint for uttering threats.
Shortly thereafter, the LPS realized their error and released her from custody without charges.
Ms. Sorrenti’s Application argues that the LPS breached the Code and discriminated against her by:
- failing to investigate or adequately investigate the Death Threat before deciding to arrest her at gunpoint,
- misgendering her,
- calling her by her dead name,
- treating her with disrespect and inhumanity while in custody, and
- in having antiquated and discriminatory policies and procedures which do not accommodate gender identity and expression to the point of undue hardship.
In addition to the persistent misgendering by LPS, Ms. Sorrenti also alleges that at the time of her arrest a London Police officer groped her breast and said, “yep, it’s a she”.
Ms. Sorrenti is seeking redress for the discrimination she has experienced and calls on the LPS to change their policies and procedures to better accommodate transgender persons.
For further information or media inquiries, please contact Ms. Sorrenti’s legal counsel Justin W. Anisman.