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Less Than 100 Protest Police Raid of Eagle Bar at Atlanta City Hall

Protest(images southern voice)


Between 60 and 100 people showed up in the pouring rain Saturday at Atlanta City Hall to protest a September 10th police raid on the Atlanta Eagle gay bar in which 62 patrons were forced to lie on the floor by two dozen police officers for two hours, illegally searched, and subjected to homophobic verbal abuse.

The Southern Voice reports:


"With a makeshift cover of a large tarp for speakers to stand under as the rain poured down for nearly an hour, citizens demanded answers from the police department, elected officials as well as Mayor Shirley Franklin, who has remained silent on the issue since the raid..."

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports: "Saturday’s crowd suspected homophobia drove the police, and the demonstrators said they would continue to exert political pressure — especially during the mayoral election. 'Get rid of Pennington,' shouted David Zecca, 46, of Midtown. 'Crime is going up, and they’re more concerned with what is going on in a nightclub.' Patti Ellis, the mother of two sons, one who is gay, said she was mortified when she heard about the raid. 'This is not about the Eagle,' she told the crowd. 'I live in Midtown. I can’t even walk down the street to a restaurant anymore. There is something very sick happening here.' As she praised the Atlanta Police Department for the tough jobs they have, Ellis said there is a lot of investigating that needs to take place."

Scenes and six speeches from the protest, AFTER THE JUMP...

UPDATE: GLBT-ATL's Todd Vierling on the low turn-out...

Complaints Reveal Sick Treatment of Gays During Atlanta Bar Raid [tr]
Atlanta City Council Hears from 20 Upset Over Eagle Bar Raid [tr]
City Council to Hear Grievances Over Atlanta Eagle Police Raid [tr]
Atlanta Police Chief Says Sexual Activity Prompted Gay Bar Raid [tr]
Hundreds Turn Out to Protest Raid on Atlanta Eagle Gay Bar [tr]
Report: Staff, Patrons Arrested in Raid of Atlanta Eagle Bar [tr]

Executive Director of Georgia Equality Jeff Graham, and Officer Dani Lee Harris, the LGBT Liaison for the Atlanta Police Dept:

Protest organizer Laura Gentle-Guerry, and President of the Atlanta Executive Network Justin Zeigler:

Columnist, author and TV personality Mike Alvear, and Grant Park resident Brad Ploegar:

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  1. That's all only 100? Well I guess it's not that big a deal. Gay Atlanta could care less.

    Gay Americans just can't be bothered with this sort of thing can they? I wonder what would get Gay America mad.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Sep 20, 2009 8:08:34 PM

  2. It's almost unbelievable that 62 people could have gone through this nightmare, yet barely more than that number showed up to protest. I mean seriously, it's not like they were pulled over for an inconvenient license and registration check ... this was two hours of being intimidated and ridiculed. And they couldn't get friends and family to support them at a function to make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen again? That's really a shame.

    I do applaud those who showed up, though, especially since the weather was nasty. I'm hopeful that was the reason more weren't there.

    Posted by: sparks | Sep 21, 2009 5:34:31 AM

  3. I love the people who showed up. I love you all for showing up, in rain, self-less, and impacting not any gain for yourselves but the NEXT generation of gay Atlanta residents, but to those of you who didn't....the thousands and thousands of gay Atlanta GLBT inidviduals who went to a movie, or slept in, or went drinking....shame on you. What happened was an outrage. If I lived within 5 hours of Atlanta, you damn better believe I'd be there. You have more power with numbers and 60-100 people....? That's pathetic.

    The gay community is a sleep on the wheel.

    Posted by: Bayley | Sep 21, 2009 6:05:08 AM

  4. I applaud the 100 that showed up. Shame on the the rest of the community for being afraid to get wet and stand up for their rights and others. It's actually disgraceful.

    Posted by: Dairyqueen | Sep 21, 2009 8:12:14 AM

  5. Congratulations to the 60+ people who had the balls and the courage to stand up against the tyranny that is notable for the South and Southwest!!! I have say from a Northern perspective (having never sullied my life by living, traveling or spending my gay dollars down south)I am shocked that the GLBTT communities comprising the Metro Atlanta area could not find it in their hearts to stand up and cry out as one voice against this injustice!! I suppose the collective voice that reigned over the weekend was this, "well it was JUST THE EAGLE, after all, i Don't do the eagle so it doesn't affect my life"!! THINK AGAIN YOU MISCREANTS! You let this pass and the next you know you will find your sorry asses on the floor at your local Bistro or drag brunch or drag bingo game!!! Your reputation and that of GA, and most of the south is one reason why I prefer the cape and Northeast for spending my money!! You will never catch this boy driving thru, flying thru or otherwise spending time or money in your state!

    Posted by: alex in boston | Sep 21, 2009 8:23:30 AM

  6. This is why as a gay community we're not taken seriously by politicians or society for that matter. We get the politics and politicians we deserve.

    Posted by: Bob R | Sep 21, 2009 9:52:30 AM

  7. The sad thing about the Atlanta gay scene is how fractured it is. There is no actual community...just a disjointed collection of different "scenes" that remain largely segregated and rather disinterested in one another.
    As I stood in the pouring rain Saturday, it never once crossed my mind that I have never even set foot in The Eagle. I just saw this whole atrocity as and egregious violation of our basic rights. Later that night, I heard so many talk about how they wanted to go but the rain blah, blah, blah. Or how they didn't feel the need to go because they wouldn't be caught dead in The Eagle blah, blah, blah.
    It broke my heart to hear the nonchalance and indifference that permeated most conversations regarding the whole thing.

    Posted by: Bradley | Sep 21, 2009 9:59:41 AM

  8. My partner and I did attend. Yes, it was pouring rain, and we were supposed to have left for a weekend trip, but we postponed our trip, drove downtown, put up our umbrellas and stood with our brothers. I was dismayed at the poor turnout, and really disappointed by the lame excuses my friends cobbled together when i tried to recruit them to join. Brunch. Gym. Too busy. Whatever. But I was heartened by the energy of the people who did attend, and inspired by the speakers. Particularly Patti Ellis, a real babe and such a presence. Thank you to the soggy men and women who came out.

    Posted by: LD | Sep 21, 2009 10:46:18 AM

  9. First, thanks to towleroad for putting up the videos. I was one of the speakers at the event. Just wanted to comment on the snarky harumph that only 100 people showed up to the rally. Dude, the rain was of biblical proportions. I was shocked to see that 100 showed up. There's no question 500-600 would have come but for the rain. Also, another thing: Many people stayed away because they didn't want to be seen defending a bar they saw as seedy or be associated with the allegations of what the bar was accused of doing. Which is sad, bc as I said in my speech, the rally was not about defending THIS bar; it was about protecting the next one.

    Posted by: Mike Alvear | Sep 21, 2009 10:54:25 AM

  10. Good for the ones that showed up. But why so few? Unfortunately, most gays only enjoy protesting when it's against white Republicans.

    Posted by: Let'sFaceIt | Sep 21, 2009 11:44:29 AM

  11. I keep thinking about how much coverage this story would be getting is you substituted African-American for gay. It would be on the front page of my paper the next day.

    And yet, the newspapers wonder why no one subscribes any more.

    Posted by: Charlie | Sep 21, 2009 11:54:36 AM

  12. FEWER not "less"

    Posted by: Buster | Sep 21, 2009 1:25:56 PM

  13. I came out for the rally as well and stood in the rain. It was sad how few people showed up. The gay community in Atlanta didn't seem to identify with the Eagle enough to brave the rain (which is of biblical proportions and has caused at least 2 deaths).

    News flash Atlanta: accusations of drugs and sex could be made of any gay bar in Atlanta (Blake's, Burkhart's, Jungle, Heretic, BJ Rooster's, Swinging Richards, etc) or any bar in this country for that matter. This was about unifying the community around a group of our own - and we failed.

    On a more positive note, on our way to the rally we ran into Lisa Borders (a leading candidate for mayor and supporter of our cause) and she was more than happy to take a photograph with us including our signage. She had no problem posing next to me while I help a sign calling for the police to stop hate crimes instead of committing them. I'll be voting for her, and I encourage all others to do the same.

    Posted by: Dan Barnhardt | Sep 21, 2009 1:49:45 PM

  14. People, seriously, we had a torrential downpour all morning, and Atlanta is now flooded. I went anyway and was amazed that over 100 people showed up considering the weather. It was unfortunate that the rain kept attendance down but don't draw broad conclusions about Atlanta's gay community because of how this is being reported. I was actually quite proud to see that many people stand in pouring rain for two hours to express their anger.

    Posted by: Ben | Sep 21, 2009 2:02:48 PM

  15. This is how bad it's flooding here before people start bitching about low turn out.

    Posted by: Matt | Sep 21, 2009 2:56:22 PM

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