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Report: Staff, Patrons Arrested in Raid of Atlanta Eagle Gay Bar

In a story eerily reminiscent of the June raid on the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth, Texas, Atlanta police reportedly raided the Atlanta Eagle gay bar last night. Mattthew Cardinale, a news editor for Atlanta Progressive News, filed a report:

Atlantaeagle "About ten police cars and about 15 cops raided the bar, allegedly looking for drugs. However, the 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.' Patrons also stated that at least three undercover cops were present. One patron stated he knew this because he saw the undercover police first without their badges, mingling with the crowds, and then again with their badges on...According to one patron, APD handcuffed all Eagle staff members and dancers, patrons in a leather shop, and anyone who was wearing only underwear; Thursday is advertised as underwear night."

Cardinale also received an email from a patron who was there: “My roommate and I were there for the police raid at the Eagle on September 10, 2009.  We had arrived about 20 minutes before the raid took place. Everyone was ordered to get on their stomachs and face down during this ordeal. As far as I could tell everyone was searched at least once, most of us twice. Most, but not all, of the officers were incredibly derogatory and insulting whether they found evidence of drugs or not,” Alan Vives wrote in an email to APN."

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  1. What the heck is going on with police raiding gay bars all over the place in such a rough manner? I used to work for Village Station and JR's in Dallas in the 90s and never heard of such overt disrespect.

    Posted by: Bill T | Sep 11, 2009 10:37:54 AM

  2. If I was forced to lie face down on that floor, I'd sue the living shit outta Atlanta. The floor in that place is nasty.

    Posted by: crispy | Sep 11, 2009 10:39:19 AM

  3. Appalling! When is it going to be NOT OK to treat gays like animals? This needs to be brought to national attention and resolved ... soon!

    Posted by: RICH | Sep 11, 2009 10:46:37 AM

  4. Thursday nights at the Eagle are particularly low-key. There are no people on the back deck talking or otherwise making noise. There are no speakers pumping music outside. There is absolutely no sound disturbance to the residential area behind it. You'd likely hear more noise from the halfway house's basketball court next door. Absolute bullshit.

    Posted by: Sean Mac | Sep 11, 2009 10:55:16 AM

  5. Did they repeal the Fourth Amendment during the Bush Administration while we weren't looking?

    Posted by: Adam | Sep 11, 2009 11:08:37 AM

  6. Civil rights groups need to take action on this......on what basis were warrants obtained....were they to search the premises or persons.....and why all persons....was this authorised by the DA ? .....were any charges preferred ? and if not who spun the lies on which the warrants were conned ? I hope that local equality advocates don't let the bigots get away with this.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Sep 11, 2009 11:11:43 AM

  7. This being the Eagle, would not patrons like to be handcuffed and shoved around?? Some would probably even pay for the privilege!

    Posted by: anon | Sep 11, 2009 11:17:11 AM

  8. I've been living in Atlanta for almost fifteen years now and this comes as no surprise. Mayor Shirley Franklin and the Midtown Alliance have been working diligently to rid the city of any gay presence for some time now. Looks like they now have their sights set on closing down The Eagle. And why not? They finished off:

    * Backstreet & The Armory
    * The Metro
    * The Phoenix
    * The Cove

    and have decimated our nightlife and culture. "The city too busy to hate?"


    Posted by: Boris | Sep 11, 2009 11:17:53 AM

  9. Haterosexual dictatorship.

    Posted by: Bill | Sep 11, 2009 11:26:26 AM

  10. A raid on the Atlanta Eagle? That's the bar raid equivalent of patting down grandmothers at airport security checkpoints. How ridiculous.

    Posted by: Pee Town | Sep 11, 2009 11:28:11 AM

  11. As we all know, gay men on party drugs are responsible for 85% of all violent crime in America. I keep getting carjacked by circuit queens, and it has to stop. Ugh, it's just disgusting - the Police are long past actually trying to keep the world safe - they're just brutalizing whoever's inconvenient to the agenda of whoever's paying them... which in this case, is the Atlanta Republicans?

    Posted by: Donovan | Sep 11, 2009 11:32:36 AM

  12. DAYUMMMM! I was just there on Tuesday. I was going to go there last night too. That sucks.

    Posted by: Labelwhore | Sep 11, 2009 11:43:38 AM

  13. This homophobic shit needs to stop. All of those officers involved should be fired. I don't want to hear their lame ass excuses about disturbing the peace or possible drug use. They know it's bullshit, and we know it's bullshit. Enough already.

    Posted by: David in Houston | Sep 11, 2009 11:44:14 AM

  14. Boris, don't forget how they've moved Atlanta Pride to Halloween instead of allowing them to do it in the summer in Piedmont Park.

    Since I've gone there a few times, a noise complaint is laughable as it's had the same amount of noise for years and a "noise complaint" only suddenly sounds suspicious to me.

    Posted by: James | Sep 11, 2009 11:47:50 AM

  15. The Cove? Jeezus Christ, honey, how old are you?

    Posted by: crispy | Sep 11, 2009 11:51:08 AM

  16. Well let's start a national boycott of all things Atlanta!! If Atlanta does not want fair and equitable rights for their GLBTT citizens ( much like antebellum Atlanta and its' Black citizens) then it is up to the rest of American GLBTT citizens to HALT all and every event which has a GLBTT influence and this means all Medical, Social, political (note to HRC) or sexual events! No conferences, no white parties, no conventions and now lets see how Atlanta likes that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Shame on any Circuit or social organization that moves forward with using Atlanta as its venue!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by: alex in boston | Sep 11, 2009 11:51:35 AM

  17. Drugs have killed many of our GLBT community.

    Posted by: Roseanne | Sep 11, 2009 11:51:50 AM

  18. What planet are you on Donovan... "gays are responsible for 85% percent of all violent crime in America"..really? And where are your statistics coming from?

    Maybe the gays are just car-jacking because you’re Republican, which is the party of douche-bags.

    Posted by: Mark | Sep 11, 2009 11:59:21 AM

  19. @Roseanne: "Drugs have killed many of our GLBT community"......what the fuck is that supposed to imply ? That innocent patrons of a bar must be molested/brutalised/intimidated ? How about some proper investigative police work ? Or is that too hard ?

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Sep 11, 2009 12:05:26 PM

  20. RE: Mark | Sep 11, 2009 11:59:21 AM

    Donovan was being sarcastic and that couldn't have been more easy to spot. Hypersensitive much?

    Posted by: Mark's Mommy | Sep 11, 2009 12:17:28 PM

  21. Really, Mark? I think your sarcasm meter is on the fritz. Better check the warranty.

    Posted by: crispy | Sep 11, 2009 12:23:49 PM

  22. @Adam: The mayor of Atlanta, Shirley Franklin, is not a Republican but a Democrat. The current President is Barack Obama, not George Bush. Isn't it time to stop blaming Republicans and Bush for the actions of Democrats and the precious Obama? Just try to be a little fair-minded.

    Posted by: Tom Anderson | Sep 11, 2009 12:31:30 PM

  23. James, the reason they moved Pride was due to water restrictions and the heavy traffic on the grounds of Piedmont Park. It's happening in October.

    This makes me sad for my home town.

    Posted by: Chad | Sep 11, 2009 12:38:19 PM

  24. And Alex, there are thousands of gay men and lesbians who are very supportive and work very hard to be visible and demand equality in Atlanta. Atlanta has one of the greatest gay communities I've ever lived. Boycotting the city simply does little than hurt those that are trying to fight for their own equality. I'm still very proud of all the demonstrations Atlanta participated in during our Prop 8 fiasco in Los Angeles. Atlanta may not see marriage rights for a many years because of the Bible belt, but they showed their support for us at the government buildings in the city.

    Posted by: Chad | Sep 11, 2009 12:42:30 PM

  25. i was there with a friend. while on the floor i was reminded of stonewall. it felt like it wasn’t really happening, but sadly it was. all the cops said was “everybody get down on the floor, on your stomachs, this is a raid!” the were calling people names. it was ridiculous. it took forever to get out of there, after being frisked and having them check our IDs. it felt like living in the past. definitely not a fun night.

    Posted by: Nick Koperski | Sep 11, 2009 12:44:59 PM

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