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Yet Another “Reason” for the Atlanta Bar Raid

Timothy Kincaid

September 14th, 2009

Not having found any drugs (the previous “reason”) during their raid on the Atlanta Eagle, the police now have a new “reason” why nine undercover officers, a dozen uniformed police, ten squad cars, and three jail vans were required to descend on this bar, force its 62 patrons to lie on the floor, subject them to insults and slurs, conduct warrantless searches on each of them, do background checks without any cause for suspicion, and jail the employees for bogus “crimes”, all while keeping their plan secret from the gay liaison. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

According to police records, undercover vice officers had been to the club and witnessed men having sex while other patrons watched. The department received its first complaints in May and sent officers there undercover before the Sept. 10 raid, Pennington said.

Police records show that initial complaints alleged there were drugs being sold on Atlanta Eagle premises and that patrons engaged in open sex acts.

Yep. It was sex, I tell ya, sex. None of which was occurring on the night of September 10th. I wonder if Danni Lynn Harris, the department’s liaison with the gay and lesbian community, was aware of the existence of these “police records” or whether they were being saved for the purpose of this raid.

And my question is about the motivation of this raid. If their intent was to eliminate offensive sexual behavior within the club, wouldn’t the first step be to discuss the behavior with the club’s management?

The failure of this police department to take any preventive steps but rather to take drastic and disproportionate actions designed to humiliate and harass the patrons of this establishment suggests to me that their motives had little at all to do with any real crimes.

But there is one point of real encouragement in this story. Npt only did politicians step in to help our community, but we stood up for ourselves.

On Monday, at least 10 of the bar’s patrons and employees went to APD’s Office of Professional Standards to lodge complaints about the way they were treated by the officers conducting the raid.

We aren’t going to sit back and act like we deserve police brutality or lack of civil treatment. Not anymore. Not even in the South.

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Andrew
September 14th, 2009 | LINK

Go Us! Especially the Southern/Midwestern gays!

Lindoro Almaviva
September 14th, 2009 | LINK

I would log complaint and after that i would have filled suits for violating my civil liberties.

I don’t take that behavior lightly, and I respond with the full force of my rage.

Richard Rush
September 14th, 2009 | LINK

“According to police records, undercover vice officers had been to the club and witnessed men having sex while other patrons watched.”

If that is true, so what? If you don’t want to watch people having sex in a club, then don’t go there. It should be that simple.

But never is that simple. It’s always the same old thing: The morals police on a crusade to control everyone’s sexual activities.

I’m hard pressed to see who was harmed by this alleged activity. But there are always a bunch of people who just don’t like it, and demand it be stopped. And that always seems to be a good vote-getting strategy.

Richard W. Fitch
September 14th, 2009 | LINK

When I heard how similar the Atlanta raid sounded to the Rainbow Lounge, I opened contacts with the folks there. At last count there were nearly 50 complaints filed and the police now are requiring victims to make appointments to file their statements. APD was pooh-poohing the whole affair earlier in the day, now they have pooh-pooh all over themselves.

Burr
September 14th, 2009 | LINK

Yeah, even if the allegations were true I don’t see how it’s anyone’s business. Surely we don’t have cops breaking into people’s homes for having sex in front of their guests. What makes it different just because it’s a club? That ain’t “public” either.

Get out of our pants, nanny state.

Cole
September 14th, 2009 | LINK

Sex is always the fallback for heterosexuals. They know that if they mention sex and gay people heterosexuals will automatically believe them and condemn gay people instantly. Heterosexuals believe that we are gay because we can’t control our desires. That prejudice coupled with the excuse that it was sex that caused the raid is a good bet heterosexuals will line up behind the police.

Pliny
September 14th, 2009 | LINK

If undercover cops spied those ‘horrible homos’ having sex why the hell didn’t they arrest them right then?

If the cops were afraid of a scene, they could have waited until the alleged fornicators left the bar before swooping in with the cuffs.

If nothing else, these undercover cops should have been able to ID at least one of these people. Why haven’t they been charged?

I call shenanigans…

Bill in SoCal
September 14th, 2009 | LINK

I’ll bet the pink slip to my car that “men having sex” means a couple of guys kissing.
APD seems to be trying to cover their asses.

Bill in SoCal
September 14th, 2009 | LINK

Oh, and I second shenanigans, Pliny.

Penguinsaur
September 15th, 2009 | LINK

“According to police records, undercover vice officers had been to the club and witnessed men having sex while other patrons watched.”

its just about statistically impossible that none of these officers had a cell phone with a camera. I got a free phone just for signing up, 6 years ago. It has a camera. Why do people who see aliens/bigfoot/proof of their accusations never have the camera phones that are owned by everyone in America but the Amish?

Christopher Waldrop
September 15th, 2009 | LINK

While I’m glad that “at least 10 of the bar’s patrons and employees went to APD’s Office of Professional Standards to lodge complaints about the way they were treated”, and I notice there’s a qualifier there so it could have been more, that still seems like a pretty low number. That’s less than one-sixth of the total number of patrons, not counting the employees.

I hope there will be more people coming forward. It sounds like everyone in the bar was subjected to harassment, and everyone should make a complaint.

SarahK
September 15th, 2009 | LINK

An anonymous person on a blog comment somewhere implied there us video that has not been released yet. This whole thing is an echo of what happened at metro (google metro on sovo.com) and after that the police promised to work with club owners directly and not do this shit. Their promises are fairytales when it has to do with gay men

Emily K
September 15th, 2009 | LINK

I believe that certain clubs that have sex take place within them (homo OR hetero) need certain kinds of permits due to zoning laws. I believe this has more to do with health codes that regulate public places more than anything else, simply because the club serves drink (maybe food too?) but I can’t say for sure. The complaint sounds suspicious because it doesnt’ sound like they were complaining of any health code or zoning violations.

Leo
September 15th, 2009 | LINK

This doesn’t pass the smell test. If the undercover cops witnessed illegal sexual behavior why didn’t they just call for some back up and start writing tickets right then and there? That’s usually how these stings happen. You send in the undercover cops and if they witness anything you’re prepared to shut it down immediately.

Instead, we are to believe, they just walked out of the place after witnessing illegal acts and returned at a later date when apparently the most provocative thing happening was some dancing in jockey shorts? And THEN they raid the place? If stemming illegal activity is presumably your objective how dumb would you have to be?

And these complaints about sex acts and drug use would have to come from someone who was inside the club to witness them. So we are to believe patrons or employees were making these complaints?

The whole thing reeks.

Timothy Kincaid
September 15th, 2009 | LINK

Chistopher,

I think one in six is a HUGE response rate. Few people want to go on record as being a thorn in the side of the police. I takes a lot of courage to go up against a group of people who have already demonstrated that they can and will abuse you if they get the whim.

I hope it becomes more, but 10 is a very big number.

Richard W. Fitch
September 15th, 2009 | LINK

The count as of 12:30 PM 9/15 is 17 statements/complaints filed with APD. At 1:00 PM the Atlanta City Council meets and citizen statements will be heard at the end of the agenda.

Richard W. Fitch
September 15th, 2009 | LINK

Please tell me just how credible this is.
Text of complaint that led to Atlanta eagle raid

Christopher Waldrop
September 15th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy, that’s an excellent point that the police can and will abuse someone, particularly someone who becomes known for criticizing the police. While I think more complaints will create more pressure on for a formal investigation, one in six is better than none at all. And I know there was a time not too long ago when something like this would have happened and no one would have come forward to complain.

CLS
September 15th, 2009 | LINK

We should not forget that Atlanta police have been proven to invent false accusations against people in order to justify a raid. They did that with Kathryn Johnston. They claimed that they had proof this very elderly woman (too terrified to leave her own house) was dealing drugs. They did a no-knock attack on her front door and started smashing it in. The terrified woman shot a gun thinking she was being attacked and the police gunned her down. She was in her 90s. It was later proven the cops had lied about alleged prior incidents.

If sex had been going one I agree it is still not police business. Patrons who don’t like it should go somewhere else It is inside and private property so no one else’s business. But, clearly that was not the case since no one was ever arrested for it.

What we have is that the police claimed they saw sex (we so far have no evidence others made that claim and filed a complaint). The police used that claim to come in and look for drugs which they were sure they would find — after all, all gays are drugged-out sex fiends anyway — hence the need for three police vans to cart them all off to jail. But still, no sex, no drugs, just a lot of egg on the face of bigoted cops.

Aaron Cohen
September 15th, 2009 | LINK

Wow, 10 people filed a complaint. The new Stonewall!

Jim
September 15th, 2009 | LINK

“Yep. It was sex, I tell ya, sex. None of which was occurring on the night of September 10th.”

I’ve been to the Atlanta Eagle, and unless things have changed in the past 3 years, I wouldn’t be surprised to see sex acts of one sort or another — not just kissing — going on there, even on a Thursday.

donviti
September 15th, 2009 | LINK

can you imagine, people getting drunk and trying to have sex in a bar!?

Sevon
September 15th, 2009 | LINK

I just can’t believe such things still go on in the world. I’m a straight man from West Virginia with gay family members and my heart has ached watching them go through struggles with insurance companies and the like. But to know that there are places even in this country where gays are treated flat-out as criminals…it’s disgusting, disturbing, and more than one officer involved in this raid should be forced to re-consider their career in law enforcement.

derek
September 15th, 2009 | LINK

If there was open sex in the bar, then the management knew it. Why should the police talk to the management if it is that stupid as to allow illegal acts? The mangement is already guilty of illegalities. When gathering evidence it makes no sense to forewarn the wrongdoers.

That being said, a better course of action would have been to send in an undercover officer, record the acts and go after the liquor license. The management of the Eagle do not seem to have the maturity or the respect for the law necessary to hold a license.

Jason
September 15th, 2009 | LINK

If is WAS about sex, well then shouldn’t the cops have issued tickets to the participators? Or, consulted with the management and said “if you don’t police this place we will have to start”.

I don’t get how you raid a place and weeks later and treat the patrons who WERE NOT HAVING SEX like criminals?

Lilybart
September 15th, 2009 | LINK

If patrons were having sex, there was no imminent danger of any kind to anyone, so talking to the owner was the thing to do. There was NO good reason for a raid.

If they saw underage boys held against their will being raped or something, then sweep in with helicopters and whatever.

sheesh

JFK
September 15th, 2009 | LINK

@Cole…I think you meant homophobes, not heterosexuals. As one of the latter, I am saddened by and deeply concerned about events like this whenever/wherever and to whomever they occur.

:-)

ste4ve
September 16th, 2009 | LINK

No sex OR drugs discovered . . . what kind of legitimate night club is this, anyway . . .?
;>)

Jason D
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

“If there was open sex in the bar, then the management knew it. Why should the police talk to the management if it is that stupid as to allow illegal acts?”

Because that’s step one of legal enforcement, you tell the liable parties to stop, and or you arrest them at the moment.

“The mangement is already guilty of illegalities. When gathering evidence it makes no sense to forewarn the wrongdoers.”

But it makes sense to NOT stop the illegal activity as it happens? It makes sense NOT to arrest/fine the property owners as the illegal activity happens? It makes sense to, instead, come back at some later date and harass patrons who may not have even been at the bar on the night of the illegal activity? It makes sense to wait awhile to come back and arrest employees who were just as easy to arrest on the night of the illegal activity?

A sting operations generally involves catching someone in the act. There was nothing illegal going on the night of the raid.

I see, so if something illegal happens during a Madonna concert at Allstate Arena, the police should interrupt the Miley Cyrus concert a week later and beat up Hannah Montanna. Gotcha. Where’s your law enforcement degree from, again?

“The management of the Eagle do not seem to have the maturity or the respect for the law necessary to hold a license.”

Interesting that even with thin, ridiculous excuses, no photo or video evidence, several complaints, and officers quoted as verbally harassing the patrons, making bigoted remarks — you still take the police’s side.

It would appear that the police lack the maturity needed to perform their jobs, and certainly don’t deserve any respect just because they happen to have badges.

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