The Anonymous Tips
September 15th, 2009
The Southern Voice is now hosting copies of the complaints that generated the commitment of over 20 officers to raid the Atlanta Eagle.
One appears to be a speculation about an event scheduled for July 5th (“They have hired nude dancers to dance on the bars; sex will be permitted as at most circuit parties, drugs will be sold freely.”)
The other anonymous tip (“for fear of retaliation”) seems to be a more generalized complaint about “ongoing sex parties on Thursday nights” and purports to be from a neighbor. It seems that it is this tip that motivated the massive response.
Witnesses (including myself) in the neighborhood have seen men in various states of undress performing sexual acts on each other including oral and anal sex. Mayor Franklin, your assistance in this matter is desperately needed as people in this neighborhood are concerned about the neighborhood being turned into a brothel. Bags of what appears to be drug residue are found strewn around a one block radius of the bar and drunk bar patrons scream and create disturbances. The neighbors that I have spoken to are scared to report anything as the bar owner has been known to retaliate against neighbors by pointing a speakers with sounds of men having sex and blasting it to the residential building next to the bar.
It would appear that the police did not make much effort to confirm this anonymous accusation before choosing to believe it. Had they checked with the Midtown Ponce Security Alliance, they may have saved themselves the effort and the embarrassment.
I have a bird’s eye view of what the community is telling us. I know every square inch of the MPSA service area, in which the Eagle is prominently located. I have never once received any reports or made any observations even remotely suggesting that crime and disorder in the neighborhood would be attributed to the Eagle.
The Eagle has always been totally unlike [other bars the MPSA worked to get closed]. From what we can tell, the staff and patrons of that establishment have enjoyed their evenings quite peacefully. We have never observed otherwise, and nobody has ever reported to us otherwise. We feel reassured that of the 62 (?) people that were found to be in that bar during the raid, not a single one had any drugs in their possession – truly amazing!
…The Eagle was that bar of choice – right there where everything possible could go wrong given the long-standing undesirable remnants of Ponce past, where a bar would be most at risk of becoming a community nightmare, and yet not a peep for years on end.
One thing that stands out to me is the assumption on the part of those who seek to oppose gay people and their lives that they can and should do so without any accountability. They hide behind anonymity claiming fear of reprisal from the evil awful gays, when it is they who are causing harm and disruption.
We see this in the raids on bars in Georgia and Texas, where “anonymous tips” are justification for police hostility. And we see it in Washington in petitioners who want to deny rights under the cloak of secrecy.
But what is disheartening and disturbing is that persons of authority, be they police or judges, are quick to shield the identity of accusers – who are often making false claims – and to view gay people as the danger by default. Our lives are disrupted, our freedoms are threatened, our rights are in jeopardy, but it is the anonymous identity of liars that must be protected.
UPDATE: As best I can tell from Google maps, there isn’t a residential building next to the bar. There may be one behind the establishment across a parking lot, but that appears to be the closest.