Atlanta Police Chief Says Sexual Activity Prompted Gay Bar Raid

Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington says sexual activity at the Atlanta Eagle prompted last Thursday's bar raid 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 Journal Constitution reports:

Pennington "According to police records, undercover vice officers had been to the club and
witnessed men having sex together while other patrons watched. The
department received its first complaints about the club in May and sent
officers there undercover on two occasions before the Sept. 10 raid,
Pennington said…Pennington said no search warrant was served prior to the raid and that
patrons were 'frisked' for the officers’ safety. All told, nine undercover
officers and a dozen uniformed officers participated in the raid. The team
brought three jail vans to the bar and used members of the Red Dog unit to
assist with the arrests."

Said Atlanta Eagle lawyer Alan Begner: "What happened to the customers was an assault. They were not
free to go. There was no suspicion any of them had committed a crime. This
is unbelievable. These customers are on their stomachs facedown in the grime and spilled beer
for an hour, two hours, all this done for no apparent reason."

Disgusting. A protest that attracted hundreds was held outside the Atlanta Eagle on Sunday — I posted video from it here this morning.


  1. says

    “complaints alleged there were drugs being sold on Atlanta Eagle premises and that patrons engaged in open sex acts. ”

    First of all, that describes most every bar in America regardless of the average sexual orientation of the patrons, but you sure as hell never hear about patrons of straight bars ever being treated like this. Second of all, you need probable cause to do a personal search under most circumstances, so even if there were reports of drugs being sold, there is no way there was probable cause to search every patron in the bar.

  2. thomas says

    WTF. men having sex while other people watching is no reason to have everybody on the ground for two hours.

    an evacuation would’ve probably been as far as they should of gone, but everything else? not needed. makes no fucking sense. what morons

  3. bobbyjoe says

    Ah, so now it’s sex. Didn’t they say it was drugs before (which was why they were searching everybody?). And they do this raid bringing along three jail vans (?), but the most they can come up with is, apparently, unlicensed go-go dancing?

    Somethin’ smells. Kind of smells a little like Forth Worth, no?

  4. says

    So a raid because of “sexual activity” is supposed to be more acceptable? And who complained? Grandma and her little grandchildren who accidentally stumbled into a gay leather bar? So 21 officers are needed to protect willing participants from hanky-panky while meanwhile actual crimes were probably taking place in Atlanta. Next they’ll pull out the old gay panic defense and claim their officers were the victims of sexual aggression. More and more disgusting . . .

  5. Sargon Bighorn says

    IF this were to happen to a Black person, JUST ONE, at the hands of White men let alone police officers, the NAACP, Jesse, Rev Sharpton, and all prominent Black leaders would be up in arms and a national debate would happen and a march in Atlanta would take place. GAY LEADERS WHERE ARE YOU? GAY CITIZENS WHERE ARE YOU? Are Gay Americans so uninterested as to only inspire a local march?

  6. elcamino says

    Straight couples never have sex in bars. I have only imagined seeing that about a hundred times in the last 10 years.

    Those gays should be ashamed of themselves for even attempting to replicate normal heterosexual behavior.

    Hey wait, why don’t we arrest them, shame them, force them to lie on the ground and harass them. That way they’ll get the message.

  7. keystonelonestar says

    Bobbyjoe is dead on. The more this story develops, the more it seems like the Ft. Worth raid. First the drugs that weren’t there, followed by the myth that gay men are sex-crazed beasts that can’t control themselves. After much protesting in Fort Worth, it was basically proven that the police were pretty much lying about everything. Maybe the same thing will happen in Atlanta.

  8. Wheezy says

    @ Dak,

    There’s plenty of fucking in straight bars. Probably as many b.j.s in the restroom as any gay bar. There’s also plenty of drugs….which they didn’t find in the Atlanta Eagle.

  9. KJ says

    Increasingly, police = douche. I know it’s not all of them, but there’s definitely an issue that needs to be resolved with the way that police departments are organized, overseen, and paid.

  10. Kristoffer says

    I want to know exactly who made the complaints about the supposed sex acts? I seriously doubt patrons in the bar would complain… And I don’t think just anyone would stop in for a drink without knowing what type bar it was.

    Not to make light of what anyone went through but I would be pissed if I had to lay on the floor of the Eagle while everyone was frisked. Please, it was underwear night from what I understand so it’s not like many of these people had lots of places to hide a weapon, right. The APD is making this up as they go.

  11. says

    This is what happens when you let straights into a leather bar. They immediately run to the cops. Our local bar got greedy and started encouraging them to come in an Sat. nights. Soon after, the coppers moved in. And what was a pretty cool scene is now a prison camp with christmas lights everywhere to discourage whatever the straights saw that they didn’t like.

  12. David D. says

    What utter fucking bullshit. When the police find out that this ludicrous story doesn’t work, they’ll come up with yet another. How many more straws can these people grasp at?

    And Dak, if you haven’t seen any sex at straight clubs, you haven’t been to the women’s washroom, the VIP, the coat check, the DJ booth, the storage room, the stairs, under the stairs…

  13. Bill says

    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.

  14. says

    I know of several bars in my time that have been shut down or lost their gaming liscence because of sexual activity. None straight, not that I go to a lot of them. I know that strip clubs have “back rooms” that as far as I know “stuff” goes on, but they at least try and hide it. I’m not saying what the cops did was right, but, is there ever really a NEED to have sex in a bar?

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  15. Nathan says

    Wilberforce, I agree with you. Our local bar has began aggressively focusing ads at straights on the radio. Now what we’re left with is a straight bar… with an amusing gay minstrel show.

    That’s all we’re good for, just laughs.

  16. Shane says

    Actually OMGYAWU, Sargon is right on with his comments. He’s talking about the reactions from black or gay leaders and the respective communities, not the patrons in the bar.

  17. Nick says

    If the Christian Taliban gets its way in America- we will be experiencing the same niceties that gay people experience in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and other countries in the middle east.

  18. Darren says

    The fact that the police are saying that they went in due to sex complaints, and then decided to frisk everyone for drugs speaks volumes. They were looking for anything they could and got desperate to find anyone guilty of anything. So instead of public indecency or drug charges, we get 8 “Dancing without a permit” charges…. Really now?

    Meanwhile, down the street at Ponce and Boulevard there are open drug deals happening pretty much 24 and 7 in the gas station parking lot. Open prostitution walking up and down Ponce de Leon outside of City Hall East from Boulevard down to the Clermont Lounge which is way more infamous than the Eagle could ever HOPE to be.

    Property crime is way up. Violent crime is up. Gangs of thugs are breaking into stores over night and cleaning them out in under 3 minutes. Walking alone from 10pm – 6 am is now considered dangerous as there are all the stories of robberies of pedestrians in the Ga Tech corridor.

    Yet, THIS is what the APD wastes our taxes on. A “drug raid” that yielded no drugs.. oh Wait. no it was a “Sex Sting” .. that yielded no one on the premises having sex… oh wait.. it was so important that they go in there to arrest 8 people for dancing in their underwear.

    This has at the very least incompetence written all over it, at the worst it has high level conspiracy (yes, Denby, I’m looking at you) written all over it… enough is bloody well enough. This is NOT going to go away and whoever made the call to go into that bar that night is going to pay a heavy political price.

  19. Ed says

    We’ve had people shot in the straight bars around here over a spilled drink, someone get knifed for hitting on someone else’s girl, bar fights that spill onto the street and all other kinds of violence. (Even a few Real World episodes featured the straight boys getting locked up after a bar fight.)

    I’m pretty sure the scene is the same in the Atlanta straight bars too. Not to mention that there is just as much sex in the straight bars as any gay bar.

    I have a hard time believing that the Eagle was such a den of iniquity that the special SWAT unit was needed to keep officers safe.

  20. Ellis says

    It’s hilarious how you all talk as if you’ve never seen nasty, dirty, high risk sex go on at this or any eagle bar or any gay bar.. Isn’t the nickname for these places the “dirty bird”?? Is that why they hire those men to stand outside the bathrooms? They are not handing out towels…..

  21. Contrarian says

    I’m even older than D. Washington, so I have to agree with him that back in the day open or semi-open sex in your average straight bar was unusual and rare, but there were always some “back room” gay places. Sadly, the phenomenon contributed to the plague years of the 80’s. It seems from the comments of younger people here that things have changed, at least in some big city str8 places. However, I’m still doubtful that in smaller towns or cities open str8 sex is to be found, though I have no doubt that drugs change hands in the restrooms and dark corners.

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