Hundreds Rally At Atlanta Eagle

Hundreds of protesters gathered at the Atlanta Eagle this weekend to decry last week’s raid by the Atlanta police.

John Curran says he was at the Atlanta Eagle Thursday night when both uniformed and undercover APD officers stormed the building and forced all 60-or-so patrons there to the floor. Addressing several hundred demonstrators last night outside of the bar, Curran joined calls for a formal investigation. “Thursday night was the first time I’ve ever felt like a second-class citizen. Thursday night was the first time I ever felt like a criminal for being at the right place at the wrong time. We were handcuffed, thrown to the floor, frisked, violently, lots of derogatory comments, and I’m sorry, I don’t want to rehash that right now.”

Officer Darlene Harris, APD’s liaison to the gay community, said police raided the bar because of alleged criminal sexual activity. She says the quick, heavy-handed approach is the same officers would use going into any similar situation. “When you’re coming into a dark club, that’s not well lit, and you have an unknown number of people inside the club, it is an officer safety concern as well.” Harris said police arrested eight bar employees. “The individuals that were arrested were arrested for various charges, not just one. For operating a business without a license, for dancing without a permit. Those seem to be the two that have came in.” But Atlanta Eagle co-owner Richard Ramey says the raid was reminiscent of 1960s police harassment of gays and lesbians. “Once they searched everyone, found no weapons or drugs, they said Well, I guess we’ll have to go to the IDs next.’ So they brought a laptop to see if they had any warrants or unpaid traffic tickets. They were fishing, they were looking.”