Alex Blaze

8 arrests in Atlanta gay bar raid

Filed By Alex Blaze | September 14, 2009 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Atlanta, city council, gay bars, police brutality, rights, sex crimes, suing

The Atlanta police raided a gay bar last Thursday. I'd encourage you to read the entire Atlanta Progressive article, which says that no one was told why they were raiding the bar, except that they were threatened with violence if they didn't follow orders and lie face down on the ground, at the same time being subjected to verbal abuse.

The police had no respect for the people they were dealing with nor did they seem to think that their actions would have any consequences. Why should they? The only people with the power to punish police officers are their buddies. Politicians don't want to seem soft on crime, and, as Obama recently found out, the police have been so fully integrated into "the troops" that they can no longer be criticized by respectable, serious people.

About ten police cars and about 15 cops raided the bar, allegedly looking for drugs.

However, the police were said to have ordered all patrons to get on the ground--including patrons who were just dancing or standing at the bar--and numerous patrons said people were handcuffed indiscriminately.

Bar patrons were furious at the aggressive and indiscriminate treatment and called the incident "harassment."

More after.

"My roommate and I were there for the police raid at the Eagle on September 10, 2009. We had arrived about 20 minutes before the raid took place," Allan Vives said.

"Everyone was ordered to get on their stomachs and face down during this ordeal. As far as I could tell everyone was searched at least once, most of us twice. Most, but not all, of the officers were incredibly derogatory and insulting whether they found evidence of drugs or not," Vives said.

"When asking why, we were met with derisive remarks and no explanation. I am furious at how we were treated and can't believe that this has happened in this day and age. The officers present were incredibly rude to anyone who dared to ask what was happening and several were openly hostile towards the gay patrons. Of the officers present, there was one female who was running searches on the IDs of those whose licenses were collected. She was not only rude but seemed to be enjoying the event," Vives said.

A protest that drew several hundred was held this weekend, and police responded:

Officer Darlene Harris, APD's liaison to the gay community, said police raided the bar because of alleged criminal sexual activity. She says the quick, heavy-handed approach is the same officers would use going into any similar situation.

"When you're coming into a dark club, that's not well lit, and you have an unknown number of people inside the club, it is an officer safety concern as well."

Harris said police arrested eight bar employees.

"The individuals that were arrested were arrested for various charges, not just one. For operating a business without a license, for dancing without a permit. Those seem to be the two that have came in."

Of course the police were endangered. You know, you go into one of those gay nightclubs, and your officer is probably going to get felt up. It's great that they raided the bar like this, because if they were in the hands of those nasty homosexuals, who knows what would have happened to the defenseless police officers. The poor guys might have been forced to put another faggot in the hospital.

Although, if they did go to the bar just to investigate a "criminal sexual activity," why didn't they send in an undercover officer to see if it was going on and then leave, instead of sending in a small army? They didn't arrest anyone for turning trick in the bathroom or prostituting themselves, so they searched for anything to justify their raid:

But Atlanta Eagle co-owner Richard Ramey says the raid was reminiscent of 1960s police harassment of gays and lesbians.

"Once they searched everyone, found no weapons or drugs, they said Well, I guess we'll have to go to the IDs next.' So they brought a laptop to see if they had any warrants or unpaid traffic tickets. They were fishing, they were looking."

The protestors say they're going to take this to the city council and that they're thinking about filing suit. Good. Too often people just want to forget these cases and move on, thinking there's nothing good that can come of seeking justice, emboldening the police to do it all over again.

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You would be surprised at the number of gay and lesbian homeowners who live in
Midtown Atlanta and complain very vigorously about nightlife activity around Ponce De Leon Ave.
I once owned a house several blocks from the Eagle and a bar called the Phoenix, I liked
both places. Many gay and lesbian homeowners hated these bars, they would do anything
to get the Phoenix closed. They would send spies into the Phoenix to see if drugs were being sold. They hate the parking, the late nite loitering from the Eagle, the alleged drug dealing.

Cops can handle this stuff a little more smoothly. Gay neighborhoods have gentrified into half-million dollar homes, and now many of these same folks want gay bars ( or any bar ) out of their neighborhood. I miss the old days of tacky, sleazy gay clubs, and $150,000 for a house.

Employees were arrested "for operating a business without a license, for dancing without a permit."

So... they choose to raid in the middle of the night, and not come to the owner earlier in the day to close the bar before they open for business? Right...

Angela Brightfeather | September 14, 2009 5:29 PM

Why is it that these bars do not have security cameras to help protect the patrons if for nothing else.

Might it be that they do not because they don't want any evidence of anyone there like a patron who might be a politico? Or maybe they just don't want to have a record kept of the clientele.

In any event, if I owned a bar and the cops came in to roust people, I would have one switch behind the bar that turned on all the lights and started the movie camera rolling at the same time. Put the results on You Tube and these raids and harrassment will stop in a heartbeat when they become irrefutable evidence in court against the cops.

I think that's a brilliant idea, Angela.

And operating without a license? I don't see that listed as the reason why the fuzz went into the place. Was it shut down after? No? Then they must have that license after all... Cuz if you were going in to shut the place down for being unlicensed, why would you say you were just looking for drugs or prosties?

This kind of police activity must be nipped in the bud. If not, it will become common and accepted practice everywhere.