Atlanta Gay Bar Raided by Police, Harassment Seen

9-11-09, 8:59 am

By Matthew Cardinale 
Original source: The Atlanta Progressive News

(APN) ATLANTA -- At approximately 11:30pm on Thursday, September 10, 2009, a gay bar in Atlanta, the Atlanta Eagle, was raided by the Atlanta Police Department (APD).

The present writer for Atlanta Progressive News – who had come to the bar to dance – witnessed as several bar staff, male dancers, and patrons were arrested between approximately 12:30am and 1am and taken away in paddy wagons, but it is not immediately clear why. One source stated he believed it was because the bar did not have a license for the dancers, but that would not explain why some patrons were also arrested.

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.

However, after all the arrests were made, this writer noticed as several plainclothes men – several Black males and a couple White males – talked in a circle with police officers. They then went to their cars and drove off. It was apparent about 10 undercover police had been there.

One police officer stated, as he and others left the parking lot, 'This is gonna keep happening if we keep getting complaints from the community.' The officer did not specify what complaints he was referring to.

This writer arrived minutes after the raid had begun. A line of cop cars blocked the parking lot so that no one in the parking lot could leave.

According to numerous patrons, many patrons were handcuffed and many, if not all, were searched for drugs and were asked to show identification.

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.

From about 11:30pm to 12am, patrons came out of the bar one at a time, apparently, after they had shown ID and gotten searched.

At about 11:50pm, police asked all people standing in the parking lot to leave the property and un-blocked their cars.

At about 12:15am, one staff member complained of a fast heart beat and feeling faint as a result of the stress and shock, and an ambulance was called to the scene. The individual apparently felt better after a few minutes and did not leave in the ambulance.

Check back here for updates on this developing story as well as our blog at .

--Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor for Atlanta Progressive News, reachable at