Cathedral City Celebrates End Of Leather Pride Weekend By Raiding Gay Bar

The Catholic-sounding Cathedral City police raided the Barracks Bar during a beer bust marking the end of Palm Springs Leather Pride Weekend on Sunday evening citing “capacity issues”—no word yet on arrests. One report says that the bar has had prior disputes with police over capacity issues and displaying porn. We’ve watched the five-minute video of the raid and pulled out the most important parts:

There’s lots of cute scruffy men in beards and harnesses (it’s almost like Pride in the 1970s). At 0:40 where a cop uses a flashlight to shoo away several bar patrons. At 1:38, exiting bar patrons shield their vampire eyes against the harsh glare outside the bar.

At 2:30 one person yells “This is a waste of city resources,” while another yells, “ACT-UP! Fight back! Fight assholes!” This same person goes onto say, “Fags have no rights! Fags good night! Down with fags! Fuck you law! Thank you Cathedral City police!”

As one Towleroad commenter quips, “Act-UP… was about government and corporate greed and indifference regarding our deaths and suffering, not about capacity issues at Tea. Please cease and desist queen and go get some food.”

The real question is whether Cathedral City police enforce the law uniformly or whether they have targeted the Barracks Bar specifically. According to a fire worker interviewed in the video, all of the patrons got cleared out and would later be let back in and counted to capacity.

Via Towleroad

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  • christopher di spirito

    Cathedral City has a large, vehemently anti-gay Hispanic population. Just because it is next door to Palm Springs doesn’t mean it is Palm Springs. Cathedral City is also where a number of anti-gay bashings have taken place in recent years.

  • La Fuente

    Two things:

    1. An hour later, the Police and Fire Departments had moved on to wherever the real crime and dangers lurked and The Barracks bar was operating at a much reduced level.

    2. Cathedral City’s anti-gay residents are not just Hispanic. Large numbers of White Christian-Mega-Church members also reside there. They just tend not be the parents of street gang members and therefore the bashing is more subtle.

    Cathedral City is also home to large numbers of gay Hispanics. For this we are thankful.

    It is so not about race.

  • Jim Hlavac

    Since when do the police go around counting the numbers of people in a bar? Sure, there’s usually some “Occupancy” number on a sign somewhere — say it was 175. How could the cops go in and count that and make a determination that there were more than 175? How does one count a crowd of people? One no doubt moving around, and people going in and out too. On the other hand, since 2009 the number of gay bar raids seems to have gone up. I guess a herd of queers is very threatening. And how come no hetero bars are ever raided — at lest until the fights and brawls break out?

  • DavyJones

    @Jim Hlavac: When you cannot move around in a bar because it is too crowded to even breathe, that’s a fire hazard. Situations like that are what cause people to get trampled to death when emergency evacuations occur; and when a building is far over capacity it is pretty obvious.

    There are actually fire marshals who are responsible for driving around and checking for violations like this (or of course someone else could call and lodge a complaint).

    Bar’s get raided and fined for those quite often actually, it just doesn’t make the news because it’s a non-issue. You will note however next time you go to a popular bar, the bouncer is charged with keeping a count of everyone who comes in/out of the bar; and he has to be able to give that count accurately to a fire marshal if asked.

    There may be some anti-gay bias here, but until it’s shown; this is just business as usual (for all bars who fail to keep their capacity in check, not just gay bars).

  • Martin

    @DavyJones – in this case, most of the ‘bar’ is the outdoor patio. In an emergency, everyone would be able to jump the wall. 85% (my guess) of the patrons spend their time outside, with an easy exit available.

    Facts matter: the raid was part of a regular harassing action by the Cat City police.

    The ‘showing porn’ argument is also dumb. This specific bar is so well hidden, non-locals cannot even find it without lots of directions. There is -zero- walk-in traffic = no chance ‘ma and pa and kids’ would ever accidentally wander inside by mistake and view *gasp* gay porn.

    That said, if we were talking Hunters, located in a very touristy area, then my opinion would be quite different. That place (Hunters,) when packed, is scary & dangerous: Not the Barracks.

  • Martin

    @DavyJones – facts matter, in this situation.

    This bar is mostly an outdoor patio. In case of fire, etc., the vast majority (85%+) could jump the wall because they are already outside. The inside area is tiny. (And there is solid seating against the wall, which makes for an easy ‘out’.)

    Also, the bar is located in a very isolated area. Non-locals cannot find it without lots of directions. It is not a local nuisance (noise, traffic or otherwise,) because there nothing in the area – especially on a Sunday evening.

    The CC police are clearly harassing this place, again. They keep trying to find something to pin on the place.

    The last time (last year?) ‘showing porn’ was the issue & was yet another dumb attempt to find something to close to the bar. Why does this raise to the level of ‘harassment?‘ There is no walk-in traffic = -zero- chance ‘ma, pa and kids’ would accidentally wander inside and see *gasp* gay porn.

    Hunters, on Arenas, is completely different animal. Most people are inside, away from an easy egress – and that dance room can get packed. Plus it is located in a very foot-traffic friendly place. Different rules (should) apply. No porn and strict occupancy limits are entirely appropriate, here, but not to an outdoor bar in an industrial area.

    Of course every law is perfect and *must* be enforced, right? /s

  • Martin

    Sorry for the double poast. Got an error…

  • DavyJones

    @Martin: If that’s the case, and there are facts which support the notion that this is a case of Police harassment; it should certainly be pointed out and brought to light. And I am not saying that I know that it isn’t the case, I have no more knowledge of this specific incident than what is put in the post and video.

    All I am noting is that capacity limits on bars, are there for a reason, and enforcement of those fire codes is not in-and-of-itself a reason to shout bloody murder…

  • Notabear

    Leather bars are so 1970’s, you know, when so-called “masculine” self loathing men had to hide in small places to be themselves. Grow up already, you’re holding the rest of us back.

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