ATLANTA — The owners of an Atlanta gay bar say their establishment was unfairly targeted by police conducting a raid Thursday evening.
Several customers at Atlanta Eagle say they were harassed without prompting, forced to the ground and frisked.
“Our problem is with the way our customers were treated,” said one of the Eagle’s owners, Richard Ramey.
Eight employees of the bar were arrested around 11:30 p.m., charged with providing adult entertainment without a city permit.
About ten police cars and about 15 cops raided the bar, allegedly looking for drugs.
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.”
“I’m thinking, this is Stonewall. It’s like I stepped into the wrong decade,” said Nick Koperski, 31, who had just gotten to the bar when the raid, involving more than a dozen police officers, some in plain clothes, commenced. Patrons at the Stonewall Inn staged a series of riots against New York police in 1969, saying they were routinely harassed because of their sexual orientation. The protests are credited with kick starting the modern gay rights movement.
In a statement released early Friday evening, the APD said the city “received several complaints with descriptive information about alleged criminal conduct at the Atlanta Eagle Club located at 306 Ponce De Leon.”
Full story at the Atlanta Progressive News.