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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.

Surveillance_cocktailsThis 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.

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    Contact info for Mr. Flask

    Posted by: Suit | Sep 11, 2013 9:00:45 PM

  2. i don't have a big problem with this. bars, gay bars in particular, have had doormen and parking lot supervision guards going back 40 years or more. the owner is clearly not doing what he needs to be doing for the safety of his customers, but trying to rely on the city police instead. this is not blaming the victim, it IS a failure on the part of the owner.

    Posted by: bandanajack | Sep 11, 2013 9:02:33 PM

  3. GEE 9 times, DO YOUR JOB POLICE, even if they had called 200 times you still have the duty to respond to each and every call out whether it is serious or not, that's your job, do it or hire someone who will.

    Posted by: Mydoona | Sep 11, 2013 9:09:44 PM

  4. The city and the police should stop whining and do what they need to do to secure the area- additional patrols are needed to protect all citizens including bar patrons.

    Posted by: Joe | Sep 11, 2013 9:10:48 PM

  5. If criminal activity is occurring on city property (ie, the street), the city can be held liable for any crimes committed.

    Posted by: Kev C | Sep 11, 2013 9:15:18 PM

  6. These attacks are not happening ON the bar property, where doormen could be effective. Jared was attacked up the street on his way to the bar. And the rocks mentioned above are being thrown ONTO the property from off the property. The police need to do their jobs and not put the onus on the business owner for these anti-gay attacks.

    Posted by: ClevelandQueer | Sep 11, 2013 9:18:29 PM

  7. Is Michael McGrath out of his bloody mind? Has this nitwit ever heard of the phrase, "blaming the victim"? Is this the performance of the police dept of Cleveland that citizens have come to expect. Mr. McGrath must be insane. What an embarrassment. And that letter! What a mealy-mouthed piece of lawyerly trash. disgusting.

    Posted by: Larry | Sep 11, 2013 9:25:11 PM

  8. I seriously hate police officers. I've come across maybe two in my lifetime that were worthy of their badge.

    Posted by: JMC | Sep 11, 2013 9:39:43 PM

  9. Give the police in Cleveland a break. After all, it's hard work sitting in Doughnut Shops chowing down all those sweets.
    By the way, if you had this gay bar serving a variety of doughnuts, sweets and coffee, all free, the police would be there in about 5 minutes time and practically live there. Problem solved.

    Posted by: David From Canada | Sep 11, 2013 9:59:44 PM

  10. Cleveland = New Moscow

    Posted by: Bubba | Sep 11, 2013 9:59:46 PM

  11. Sounds like in Cleveland the right hand knows not what the left hand is doing. According to the NY Daily News, "The city recently offered the bar extra lighting, tree-trimming to prevent attackers from hiding in the brush, and heightened police coverage, according to bar manager James Foster."

    So are the police trying to do their job by providing enhanced coverage to areas of conflict under their supposed protection, or, pace Martin Flask, are they threatening the victims if they dare call for help again?

    In any case, the intervention of a few shark-like gay lawyers sounds like it would be salutary.

    Posted by: Vint | Sep 11, 2013 10:10:31 PM


    They're saying, "The timing of this letter was an unfortunate coincidence."

    It's been rescinded per the mayor and they want to arrange a meeting with the owner to discuss the situation.

    So, they're not insensitive. Just incompetent. /facepalm

    Posted by: shibby | Sep 11, 2013 10:13:34 PM

  13. Wow, an editorial board of a American city newspaper in 20133 publishes an editorial that uses the term "gay lifestyles". I appreciate the effort and the intent but it's clear that it's not only our enemies who need to be educated about GLBT issues and concerns.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Sep 11, 2013 10:16:25 PM

  14. *2013

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Sep 11, 2013 10:16:58 PM

  15. If the police want to be left out of it, then the bar owner should be able to take a baseball bat to those little shits.

    Then the police can stay out of that.

    Posted by: FFS | Sep 11, 2013 11:03:53 PM

  16. "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."

    The Bar owner and patrons are tax payers. Problem solved. Protect you citizens or your citizens will f@#k you ingrates up.

    Posted by: Sean | Sep 11, 2013 11:03:54 PM

  17. I am absolutely sickened by this. Go have another donut, assholes.

    Posted by: Brian | Sep 11, 2013 11:08:21 PM

  18. Plan of Action: I will begin to execute any person who harasses any of my customers. Afterward, I will not call the police so there will be no burden to the taxpayer. Thank you.

    Posted by: Tophier Verdugo | Sep 11, 2013 11:12:29 PM

  19. Lyons is doing Flask and the rest of his department a huge favor: He's saying "Here! There are criminals here! They're attacking my patrons tonight, and they'll be attacking other Clevelanders tomorrow. Please prevent future attacks of non-gay people by rehabilitating those who harm gay people."

    Posted by: Andy | Sep 11, 2013 11:12:43 PM

  20. A suggestion, put up a large sign outside encouraging bar patrons to concealed carry...although Cleveland is probably one of those retrograde-places were you have to leave you CCW-weapon in your car to enter a p[lace where alcohol is sold.

    "An armed society is a polite society." - Robert Heinlein

    Posted by: Ted B. (Charging Rhino) | Sep 11, 2013 11:17:10 PM

  21. Maybe it's time to form a gay militia if the police are unwilling or incapable of doing their jobs. I would love to see some bashers get bashed back for a change.

    Posted by: Bob R | Sep 11, 2013 11:17:21 PM

  22. First thing on the action plan should be; Advise patrons of the establishment to get a concealed carry license.

    That'll get the police departments attention.

    Posted by: Randy | Sep 11, 2013 11:21:31 PM

  23. I can see the headlines now, Gay Bar staff shoots inncocent children as they engage in friendly hijinks.

    Amreica is messed up

    Posted by: Thrutch | Sep 11, 2013 11:37:01 PM


    Fine, we'll install a sniper on the roof to shoot any c**t that dares attack a gay man or woman in the street.

    Posted by: Tristram | Sep 11, 2013 11:45:25 PM

  25. Dear Mr Flask:

    Thank you for your letter. In order to relieve the police department of having to do its duty, I will be hiring armed security guards to protect my business and its patrons.

    They will be instructed to shoot to kill any suspected gay bashers who come within 500 yards of the business and will invoke Ohio's Stand Your Ground law should anyone be killed.

    Very truly yours,

    Posted by: TomTallis | Sep 11, 2013 11:54:15 PM

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