City of Cleveland Threatens Gay Bar Owner Targeted by Hate Crimes for Calling Police Too Often
Last week we reported on a gay man beaten by a group of youths outside the Cocktails Lounge gay bar in Cleveland. Jared Fox was sliced by his glasses, his eardrum ruptured, and his face bloodied and bruised.
This week, a teen was arrested after the bar released surveillance video showing a large group of youths targeting the bar by throwing rocks, some the size of small canteloupes, over the fence at its patrons.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that there have been at least six attacks since this spring.
Now, Towleroad has obtained a copy of a letter written by the City of Cleveland to the bar's owner Brian Lyons threatening him for calling the police 9 times.
Writes Director of Public Safety Martin Flask in the letter:
"Repeated calls to the same property place an undue and inappropriate burden on the taxpayers of the City of Cleveland and on our safety forces."
Flask orders Lyons to submit an action plan "outlining your strategy to eliminate the problems at this location" or risk action against him by the police.
Says the letter:
Re: Property located at 9208
Our records indicate from September 02, 2012 through September 01, 2013 Cleveland Police Officers and/or Dog warden have been dispatched and responded to your property located at 9208 Detroit Avenue inns for various Calls for service. Repeated calls to the same property place an and inappropriate burden on the taxpayers of the City of Cleveland and on our safety forces. The estimated cost for the city safety forces to respond to your property is approximately $100.00 per call for service.
l am confident that we share the same goal and that you will take the necessary steps to eliminate the repeated calls for police services to your property. Therefore, within 10 days of the date of this letter, you will be required to submit your action plan to the First District Neighborhood Police Commander (623-5105), outlining your strategy to eliminate the problems at this location.
Failure to address these issues, resulting in future calls for police service, will be scrutinized for appropriate administrative or law enforcement action.
Martin L. Flask, Director Department of Public Safety
cc: Director of Law Michael McGrath, Chief, Division of Poke Councilperson lay Westbrook, Ward 16 Deputy Chief Field Operations, Division of Police 1. District Commander
Gangs of youths are beating up patrons of the bar as they come and go, and throwing melon-sized rocks over the fence at its patrons, and the city is putting the onus on the gay bar and its owners to clean up the crime itself or continue to be victimized.
I wonder how this treatment by the city will sit with the Gay Games committee, as they prepare to welcome more than 10,000 mostly LGBT participants from more than 65 countries to Cleveland next August?
Copy of the letter below:
In related news, the Cleveland Plain Dealer just published this editorial highlighting the spate of anti-gay hate crimes in Cleveland's neighborhoods, and calling for a public education campaign ahead of the Gay Games in 2014.
Writes the paper, in part:
Despite the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings and society's generally more welcoming attitudes to gay marriage, there's still a need to address deeply-rooted prejudices against gays and gay lifestyles.
It is time to elevate diversity and address the ignorance that has been making headlines the last couple of weeks in the two-block area around Cocktails, a bar on Detroit Ave. that caters to a gay as well as a neighborhood crowd...
...The police enforcement is welcome but it isn't the full answer. Education and community involvement are the other ingredients. Part of that will come as same-sex marriage advocates launch a statewide educational campaign and the months tick down to the 2014 Gay Games. One of the lessons of the games is the need to foster diversity. That message needs to be delivered as well to the young people who live near West 91st and West 93rd streets and Detroit Avenue.