Was Atlanta’s Leather Bar ‘Drug’ Raid Just Another Stonewall?


Because local law enforcement does not stay up to date with the happenings of their peers in other towns and counties, Atlanta police just made the same mistake as Ft. Worth: they raided a gay bar. Just because?

Last night’s raid on Atlanta’s leather bar The Eagle does not appear to be apples-to-apples with Ft. Worth’s Rainbow Lounge showdown, if only because nobody’s brain ended up bleeding. But whenever a gay bar is targeted — and the police are less than forthcoming about reasons why — it immediately smacks of prejudice.

And that’s what the eight arrested Eagle employees might be feeling right about now.

Officially, Atlanta police received a tip that there were “illegal activities” happening at the bar. Except the staff they arrested (i.e. those wearing only underwear) were charged with illegal dancing (no cabaret license?), which is a sad, trumped up charge that should result in little more than a fine. No drugs were found. And allegations of “over-serving” (see: Rainbow Lounge) haven’t been made.

So why storm the bar, lock it down, force everyone on the floor, and tie hands behind backs? Good question. The Eagle’s owner Richard Ramey, who says his bar has a 13-year clean record, doesn’t know. Neither does the Atlanta Police Department’s LGBT liaison officer Danni Lynn Harris.

But until the cops start talking, we’re left with this:

The present writer for Atlanta Progressive News–who had come to the bar to dance–witnessed as several bar staff and male dancers were arrested between approximately 12:30am and 1am and taken away in paddy wagons, but it is not immediately clear why.

[…] 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.”

[…] This writer [Matthew Cardinale] 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.

And as witness Allan Vives, who was in the bar, reported: “My roommate and I were there for the police raid at the Eagle on September 10, 2009. We had arrived about 20 minutes before the raid took place. Everyone was ordered to get on their stomachs and face down during this ordeal. As far as I could tell everyone was searched at least once, most of us twice. Most, but not all, of the officers were incredibly derogatory and insulting whether they found evidence of drugs or not. When asking why, we were met with derisive remarks and no explanation. I am furious at how we were treated and can’t believe that this has happened in this day and age. The officers present were incredibly rude to anyone who dared to ask what was happening and several were openly hostile towards the gay patrons. Of the officers present, there was one female who was running searches on the IDs of those whose licenses were collected. She was not only rude but seemed to be enjoying the event. At one point, she stopped what she was doing and walked over to the television and asked her colleagues what the score to the game playing on the television was… this point there were still innocent patrons laying face down on the floor. When pressed for answers none were given, only further threats that something worse would happen if we didn’t capitulate to the demands of these ‘law enforcement’ officers. I’m disgusted at what I went through. I’m disgusted at what I witnessed. I’m embarrassed for this city. I hope this is the beginning of a discussion that ends in the dismissal of several Atlanta police officers and whoever initiated this act. It is UNBELIEVABLE that the patrons of one of Atlanta’s gay bars would be subjected to this kind of treatment given the high rate of serious crimes that are being perpetrated on a daily basis? Is this really the greatest concern of the Atlanta police department…especially in a city where the daily news rarely goes without some report of violent crimes against others? This is just unbelievable, a serious embarrassment. I can’t express how angry I am.”

This will get worse before it gets better. Local activists are planning a rally tomorrow to protest the raid. The police should start preparing their internal investigations now, because really, that’s where this is headed.

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  • edgyguy1426

    Maybe there are homophobic straights (or gays with a grudge) targeting the bar and calling in false complaints?

  • schlukitz

    This kind of shit is definitely Stonewall, 1969 revisited.

    40 years later and we still can’t gather peaceably in a public place without fear of arrest?

    That’s real LGBT progress!!!

    Hello, Frank Kameny, Barbara Gittings and Dick Leitsch?

  • M Shane

    I thought Atlanta was supposed to be a progressive city of some kind. The dimwits I’ve met from their were rednecks , but everone said they were civilized. Guess not

  • schlukitz

    @M Shane:

    It’s still Jojah! And only one state closer to the “noth” from where I live in Flawda. ;o)

  • Chris

    Atlanta is a progressive city, especially intown, which is why this is so suprising for so many of us living here.

  • hyhybt

    @M Shane: Compared to the *rest* of the state, it is.

  • Michael

    @M Shane: Atlanta IS a progressive city. I have no problem showing displays of affection here, and rather than being heckled, i’ve gotten words of encouragement from both straight men and women in my area. I’ve never had a problem being gay in Atlanta, which is part of the reason why we’re all so shocked down here.

  • Tweety

    @M Shane: Speaking of dimwits, for the manner of which you used the word, it is spelled “there” not “their.”

  • schlukitz



    “We don’t need no stinkin’ spellcheck!

  • Johnny

    this happened years ago at the “Tasty” night club in Melbourne. patrons were forced into strip searches etc. There was a class action taken and Victoria police had to pay out quite a bit of cash to the patrons.

  • Melbatoaster

    As a straight woman born and raised in Georgia… Atlanta is as progressive as it can be. The gay community is huge here- but it seems like the heterosexual support is null on a large scale. There are pockets of seemingly educated and progressive people, but if you step as little as a block or a few miles in one direction or another the population is TOTALLY out of whack with sexual equality and freedom. On top of that the crime here is unreal and seemingly getting worse and worse…so not only does this seem completely hateful and uncalled for on the scale of human rights, but it is/was a HUGE waste of time/money. I am constantly BLOWN away by how hateful people are towards the gay community, I get so comfortable in my little pocket of open-minded intelligent friends that I forget how much of a problem it is.

    This is kinda the last straw for me, seriously.

  • schlukitz


    Thank you for your exceedingly kind, thoughtful and supportive post. Would that more open-minded intelligent people like yourself would do so.

    I have visited your lovely city many times on my many trips between my previous home in New York and my present home here in Tampa. Atlanta has a lot of history, many fine old, beautiful a homes and historic sites and has, as you have noted, a huge gay community.

    My folks were snow birds and I spent much of my youth here in central west Florida. We too have a sizeable gay community in the Tampa Bay area which includes St. Petersburg and Clearwater. And like in Georgia, if we you step back a few miles from the center of town, we also have another population that is totally out of whack with equality and freedom. We call them Thonotosassa rednecks. And, Florida being “God’s waiting room”, we have more than our share of old farts like myself, many of whom are stuck in a time warp.

    Florida, as you no doubt already know, is the state where we gays are not only not allowed to marry, but are forbidden from adopting children as well. That should give you some idea of the equality chasm that exists between the rednecks and the gay community in the Sunshine state.

    I use that term rather euphuistically as the sun is not shining as brightly on the LGBT community here as it does on the straight community, unfortunately.

    I say that with the deepest of regret for my fellow brothers and sisters because I had the good fortune of raising a son from the time he was 8 years old. His real father, you see, abandoned him at birth and his mother committed suicide because of it.

    Neither my son nor I would probably ever have known the joy and happiness that can exist between a father and son, had we not come into each others lives.

    Please continue to feel free to share you thoughts with us whenever you feel motivated to do so.

    I bid you a pleasant good evening.

  • Rick

    Or the gays.

    Whatever works.

  • hephaestion

    Heads need to roll in the Atlanta Police Dept. Fire every cop involved in this!!! I was once chased by an Atlanta cop wielding a baton which he threatened to bash me with. My ONLY crime was that my car had a rainbow sticker on it.

  • jason

    My experience with gay bars containing men in underwear is that they are designed for one thing and one thing alone: sex. As such, I think the police have every right to investigate. There are – and so there should be – strict rules regarding sexual activity on licensed premises.

    If we in the gay community want to be treated the same as everybody else, we can’t claim privilege on the notion of having sex in licensed premises.

  • HayYall

    @jason: APD officer that wants to go to law school, or Georgia State first year?

    You decide!

  • jason

    I don’t want to walk into a mainstream bar and see a man and woman having sex in a dark corner of the room. Keep it at home. Similarly, I don’t want to walk into a gay bar and see two men sucking each other off in a corner surrounded by black plastic.

    Memo to gay guys: you want equality, you got it. Since you like being treated equally, you shouldn’t mind abiding by the rules which govern licensed premises.

  • alan brickman

    stop being so sexy!! stop it!!

  • sekaiichibankawaii

    Those cops need to be more focus on the CHILD PROSTITUTION PROBLEM in the ghettos of Atlanta than harassing tax paying, law abiding adults who are trying to have a good time.

  • Charles Merrill

    No patrons were arrested. The cops arrested two employees for selling drugs because the owners forgot or unwilling to pay off the Chief of Police. Not exactly the same as Stonewall.

  • Mike Barton

    If I were made to lay down on the floor face down (regardless of whether or not I was handcuffed) and not arrested there would be hell to pay.

    And now a truly off-color question: Did the police bring enough handcuffs or did they have to borrow some from the patrons or the leather store?

  • dlpca

    I hope it is becoming clear that there is obviously a passive and progressively more aggressive campaign to intimidate, harass and oppress openly gay activities. police are infiltrating gay date sites, creating profiles to sabotage efforts for men connect. They even have gay cops set up gay citizens and gay establishments. The collective action of law enforcement to squelch the openly gay life style is painfully obvious. And it seems to have intensified since more states are accepting and taking on legalization of Gay marriage.

    There seems to be an underground, off mainstream movement, within law enforcement to target gay men, gay socials and gay solidarity. It is no secret that law enforcement reads and writes on this blog.

    I am not saying that law enforcement as a whole is enemy to the gay community. And there certainly doesn’t seem to be any protection serving the gay community. But because being gay, knowing someone or being related to someone gay makes one vulnerable to targeting, no one is inclined to offer a defense. Now the message is that being gay, going to gay bars and living an openly gay life (socially) is dangerous and make one vulnerable to targeting by the gestapo; sorry, I mean the police.

    This kind of activity from police is terrorism, domestic terrorism plain and simple.

  • schlukitz


    I don’t doubt for a moment that what you say is true. I remember very well what it was like in pre-Stonewall New York City. We had more to fear from New York Finest than we did from the homophobes and queer-bashers.

    The question is, how do we stop this creeping terrorism on gays?

  • B

    schlukitz wrote, “The question is, how do we stop this creeping terrorism on gays?”

    Answer: sue the bastards for every cent they are worth and make sure those “police officers” spend the next 3 years of there lives filling out dispositions. Its the only thing that will get their attention. Even if you don’t win much in the way of a settlement, it will make life so miserable for them that they will think twice about trying such a stunt again.

    BTW, with regard to what someone else posted, since they did not arrest any patrons, I would presume there was no illegal sexual activity going on in the bar at the time of the raid, or if there was, it stopped before the police got within eyesight.

  • Chuck

    Shocking, unacceptable in 2009 America.

  • GBM

    No shade if the employees was sellings drugs. Then so be it. It’s no different than a dude on the corner selling.


    The rest of the patrons and employees should have not been disturbed.

  • OhYeah

    Is Mayor Shirley Franklin a homophobe? I know some are blaming her administration for being hostile to gay businesses in Atlanta.


    @jason: you seem to be focused on sexual activity. From these reports, it wasn’t happening. The police definately stepped over the line of official decency. This business of forcing citizens to lay on the floor face down is shameful, and should be illegal itself. The only law breaking I’ve read so far on this incident is by the APD, and this should investigated LOUDLY!


    Next time: STONEWALL!!!! FIGHT BACK.


    @dlpca: I’m afraid it’s beyond domestic terrorism, it’d Berlin in the 30s. Gays and immigrants (though completely different groups) are systematically being targeted as subhuman. Foe a while, I thought our fight was for marriage equality and ending DADT. The real fight will be for our very existence. If/when they come for you fellow queers, fight to the bitter end, make them bleed, do not resign yourself to fear or passivity. Our voices, hearts, minds and fists must be sharp and strong.

  • Brian

    It took ten police cars and fifteen cops because they thought one or two employees might be selling drugs — hardly!

    A discreet undercover investigation could have effectively and efficiently handled any concerns over drug selling and discreet arrest(s) could have ensued where appropriate — especially in an establishment holding a thirteen year clean record.

    This show of force was blatant intimidation and oppression.

    When was the last time you heard of something on this scale in a mainstream bar with a clean record?

    Do I hear boycott Atlanta, anyone?

  • Glennmcgahee

    Historically, gays built a downtown that is thriving from what was once a run down and neglected inner city. That would be mid-town and surrounding areas in Atlanta. Gay families never get credited with the revival these inner cities experience. We revive blighted neighborhoods, property values soar, then the developers and yuppies move in and take credit.

  • scott ny'er

    @Brian: If what you say is true – then that is crazy wrong. There should be lawsuits. Sadly, I’m pessimistic (or realistic) on this and usually when cops do wrong, the city pays the lawsuit, hence the taxpayers get stuck. While the cop(s) gets a slap on the wrist, if that and gets his pension after 20 years.

  • schlukitz

    How the hell can employees of a business establishment be charged with operating a business without a license if they are not the owners?

    That’s like arresting the cashiers at Wal Mart because management hired employees without green cards.

    10 squad cars. 15 policemen. Possible swat team members. Making bar patrons lie on the floor face down. Hurling homosexual slurs. Searching everyone in the premises. Handcuffing patrons.

    These police went there with the intention of finding something, anything, hopefully drugs, and came away with mere paper violations?

    Total overkill! I hope not only the bar, but every patron who was subjected to that abuse of power, sues the ass off the City so that the police department will think twice about pulling that kind of shit again.

    1969…yeah. That’s the way things were.

    But in 2009…the anniversary of Stonewall?

  • Information from Atlanta David Magazine

    APD Out of Control
    No doubt you’ve already heard reports about the Atlanta Police Department raiding the Eagle last night. For all the latest information, including a planned protest against this police misconduct, stay tuned to our sibling publication Southern Voice.

    The raid at the Eagle — where customers were illegally detained, ordered to lay on the floor, and illegally had their background check despite not being guilty or suspicious of committing any crime — must result in disciplinary action against the APD officers involved. But the Eagle raid is not a random incident — it marks the third time in less than seven days that the APD has illegally shut down a gay venue/event. Last Thursday, the po pos descended on Bulldogs during black gay pride, and shut the club down to an alleged capacity violation. Bulldogs was indeed packed to the rafters, but many people were also enjoying Pride outside the club, and the police illegally ordered them to disperse for no reason.

    Then on Sunday, hordes of police officers descended on Black Gay Pride in Piedmont Park and illegally ordered everyone out of the park, even though the park was supposed to remain open until 11 p.m. To justify the evacuation, APD made up a lie about “people with guns” fighting in the park. When pressed for accuracy by SoVo, the APD admitted that there were no guns in the park, and instead blamed the confusion on “firecrackers.” They also claimed that they didn’t shut the park down, although anyone who was in the park on Sunday knows that is a patent lie.

    The APD is out of control. They will continue to bully gay establishments and those who they think will not hold them accountable for their actions, and so we must not let them get away with this. Please consider joining Sunday’s protest in order to confront

  • jason

    I’m sorry but I’m not falling for this “we were the victims” tune of some members of the gay community.

    Police have every right to raid licensed premises and check for sexual activity and drug dealing, both of which are illegal on such premises. One of the requirements for holding a liquor license is that you run your venue according to the law. Break the law and you risk losing your license.

    My intuitive feeling regarding licensed gay venues is that drug dealing occurs frequently and that sex sometimes occurs, often with the implicit approval of the venue managers. This is something which needs to stop.

    Can a case be made that gays have been discriminated against? Possibly. If it can be demonstrated that mainstream bars have never been raided by police, it’s possible that anti-gay discrimination is occurring.

    I’d be interested to know what the stats are regarding this.

  • schlukitz

    Unfortunately, it is not just the APD that is out of control. This sort of thing is happening with alarming frequency in a great many of our cities across America. Intense homophobia is raising it’s ugly head, not just among the citizenry, but among those in positions of power and whose sphere of influence is enormous.

    The Duanna Johnson beating by the Memphis Cops, the Texas Gay Bar “raid” and now this latest incident, are but the tip of the iceberg for this shocking display of police homophobia and brutality.

    It has often been said that one cannot do their job well if they do not enjoy the work they are doing. This would seem to suggest that there might be at least a small element of sadism present in some of those folks who pursue law enforcement as their line of work.

    That is not to denigrate the performance of fine, upstanding police persons who really care about their communities and are striving to protect the property, well-being and safety of the civilians they serve. Many of these officers take a bullet or worse yet, are cut-down in the prime of their lives, leaving behind bereaved families whose lives will never be the same again.

    But, for officers of the law who commit the heinous crimes against civilians like Ms. Johnson, the patrons of the Texas gay bar and The Eagle in Atlanta, I have absolutely no sympathy or respect for they have not earned it and deserve none.

    They are homophobic, abusive, sadistic and a total disgrace to the very badge that they wear.

    We, whose tax dollars pay their salaries, should demand that the offending law officers who have violated their oaths to preserve the peace and protect the citizenry, be removed from their positions, stripped of their seniority and pensions, tried in a court of law and serve their time in prison just like any other criminal.

    Anything less, is a travesty of law and a miscarriage of justice.

  • schlukitz


    I’m sorry but I’m not falling for this “we were the victims” tune of some members of the gay community.

    Of course not!

    You have demonstrated in previous posts that you are as homophobic as the Atlanta police who raided the bar.

    Bottom line: The APD did NOT find what they went there looking for and which you alleged was occurring there.

    Could it just be, that you were the one who called the cops on Eagle because of some bug you have up your ass toward gay people and Leathermen in particular?

  • Chitown Kev


    Add to that, at least 20 cases of “driving while gay” stops by a Chciago cop that now has been relegated to desk duty (I think) but only after a community uproar.

    Queerty should allow me…I mean, really should do a follow up story on that.

    Claims have also been made that Fiorito purposely arrested gay motorists and used anti-gay slurs while processing them.

    “It’s like being mugged for $2,000,” stated one meeting attendee, who was also a victim of one of Fiorito’s questionable DUI arrests. “I am 33 years old and have been living in this city my entire life and that was the first time I ever felt really discriminated against for my sexuality.”

    Of particular interest to the private citizens who attended the subcommittee meeting was the fact that while awaiting a ruling on the multiple lawsuits that he is facing, Fiorito is still an active duty officer in the Boystown area.

    “It’s simply disgusting,” shouted Ron Woods during the subcommittee meeting’s proceedings. “I own a little bit of property down the street and I cannot stand for this type of injustice. I will not stand for it.”

    There is a precedent for the private citizen’s claims to have Fiorito removed from active duty as he awaits a decision on his cases.

    Veteran Chicago officer Joe Parker, who has also been investigated for allegedly making false DUI arrests, was placed on desk duty while his investigation went forward last year.

    Rios, however, explained that the 23rd Precinct, which patrols the Boystown area, was unable to comment on the situation, and added that taking Fiorito off of active duty was “not up to them.”

    Rios did state that if a decision was made by the private citizens of the subcommittee he would take that information to his commander the following day.

  • schlukitz

    @Chitown Kev:


    Thanks for the link and making my point. Officers like these are clearly abusing their positions and power and need to be removed and dealt sternly with, if for no other reason, to make an example of what happens to law enforcement officers who overstep their bounds.

  • cruiser

    @jason: Much as I hate to say this but I’m going to anyway…you’re an idiot, if you think that the ONLY reason bars have underwear nights is to promote free sex then you are living under a rock, most bars that sponser theme nights(underwear, leather, whatever)have strict(and I mean strict)policies against any type of illegal or questionable behavior(their liquor licenses usually depend on those policies/guidelines)therefore why would anyone with half a brain(unless they are a complete and total idiot)jeopordize that?! This incident boils down to nothing more than bold faced harrassment by the Atlanta PD.

  • B

    jason wrote, “I’m sorry but I’m not falling for this ‘we were the victims’ tune of some members of the gay community. Police have every right to raid licensed premises and check for sexual activity and drug dealing, both of which are illegal on such premises.”

    I might agree if patrons were arrested for doing something illegal. What we had instead, according to the reports, is the police “raiding” a bar and treating the customers as criminals without a single customer being arrested.

    It is completely unacceptable for the police to storm into a bar “to check” and treat anyone the way they reportedly did when no crime was in progress. It would have been reasonable for some undercover officers to check on the bar and arrest someone who was actually caught selling or buying drugs, but that is not what happened if the reports are at all accurate.

    So, if the reports are accurate, I’d say (figuratively), “unleash the dogs of war”, and put these officers and the police department through disposition hell for however long it takes for a civil suit to get through the courts. Fighting back is absolutely necessary to prevent this country from turning into a full-blown police state.

  • PEter

    For the love of all that’s holy can we please stop referring to every bar raid as another Stonewall? When Queerty can prove that this was a freak random incident or that other gay bars were raided within the same week (or even month) but NO OTHER REGULAR NORMAL, NON SEXUAL ORIENTATION IDENTIFYING BAR had the same drug search done to them then we have an issue. Until then, every LGBT bar or nightclub that gets investigated by the police is going to be called another Stonewall and, quite frankly IMHO, minimizes what Stonewall was, what happened, and the impact it had on the LGBT movement.

  • Jems

    @jason: But sir, we don’t have equality, and the gay culture shouldn’t be measured by the same yardstick that the hetero culture is measured with. If you don’t want to see sex in a darkened corner, don’t go to gay bars! Why should we alter our culture, our community just because some feeble minded, just out of the closet, nelly is squeamish? The gay community is at a boiling point. And when the shit blows, its gonna blow indiscriminately and stick like grits to whoever’s close. Let me tell you, that stuff is like napalm-it burns long after you’ve tried to wipe it away and the scars are forever.

  • jason

    Stop trying to distort the meaning of gay rights and gay community. Gay rights is NOT about sex, sex, sex. It’s about rights, rights, rights. Rights means that you are treated equally to everyone else. Rights does NOT mean that you break the law and then cry foul when police arrive.

    Gay rights is a great concept. PLease don’t distort it to suit the intentions of the sleaze crowd and the even creepier sleaze merchants with their endless marketing strategies.

  • Abbie

    I know that Dubya suspended parts of the US Constitution, but doesn’t the Gestapo — I mean the police still need a proper search warrant for something like this. A search warrant should have spelled out clearly what they would be looking for, and I hope it wasn’t boys in bikinis. Rational citizens of Atlanta should be furious about this kind of misappropriation of their civic resources.

  • Charles Merrill

    @Chris: Not Stonewall. I would be upset if the cops did this at an LGBT center helping the homeless, but a leather sleaze bar ? It’s a stretch to think our rights are being compromised. If Atlanta Eagle is anything like the Eagle bars in the rest of the country, guys go there to get paddled, hand cuffed, pissed on, ass fisted with Crisco and lick leather boots. Why the uproar of being handcuffed by cops and made to get down on the floor? Isn’t that a Tom of Finland fantasy ?

  • schlukitz

    @Charles Merrill:

    Mr. Merrill, I have long been an observer and an admirer of your comments and always looked forward to reading them.

    Until today, that is. I was shocked and dismayed to see your blatant bigotry and discriminatory attack against a major segment of our beautiful and diverse LGBT community. To be perfectly honest and as blunt as your comments, your comments were ignorant and disgusting.

    Your berating comments about the leather community showed a total lack of understanding about not only civil-rights, but of the multi-faceted aspect of the sexual diversity of all people, both straight and gay. In case you are not aware, straight people indulge in the very same activities you so deprecatingly catalogued for us.

    You,Sir, need to understand that there is a tremendous difference between consensual sexual acts and being subjected to them at force, a minor point that you seem to have missed…or dismissed on purpose to get your vitriol across more succinctly. By stating your obvious dislike and disapproval of sexual activities that go beyond vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, shows a shocking lack of information on your behalf and makes you sound very much like the religious right, who want to take your civil-rights away simply for sucking, which may seem “normal” to you, but is regarded as a mortal sin to those who want to see your soul roast in hell.

    I would suggest cracking a reference book or doing some research via Google on the Internet, may help you to glean a better understanding of human sexuality, Sir, before shooting your mouth off as you just did.

  • Charles Merrill

    @Charles Merrill: Read the comments in the Advocate including this one.
    Name: Daphne Raddock
    Date posted: 9/12/2009 9:37:18 PM
    Hometown: Atlanta, GA

    The Eagle is long known to be a sex club. People who don’t live near the eagle have no idea what’s going on. The Eagle had it coming. Wednesday and Thursday nights are all out sex parties. Always has been. When people complained about folks having sex OUTSIDE of the club, in the alley, bushes, etc, the Club’s answer was to play sex sounds on the loud speakers and point those speakers down the street and at local houses. uh… Mature? There are drugs there. There are people having sex. There are unlicensed dancers. Also, it’s not a gay bar. It’s a LEATHER bar. A Kinky place with Masters, slaves, and all kinds of other things. Spanking, whipping, and chains. Let’s call it what it was. A kink bar got raided for being constantly out of control. And I’m a patron of the Eagle, so I know what I’m talking about.

  • Charles Merrill

    @schlukitz: I gather from your posts you live in Florida, not Atlanta. I don’t doubt there is a religious backlash against LGBT’s in various cities due to GOP conservatives, however to compare leather bars with Stonewall is not fair. Neither you nor I have the facts 100% in this case and to bring in heroes like Frank Kameny is wrong. His work had nothing to do with gay bars. I only know what a read from a Google search abut sex at Eagle bars around the country (some with leather slings), and it is completely opposite to your “po oppressed us” position. Read a comment from the Advocate I posted #49.

  • schlukitz

    @Charles Merrill:


    One negative comment out of several pages of mostly supportive comments about the Atlanta Eagle does little to support your ridiculously discriminatory attitude toward The Eagle Bar in Atlanta.

    Daphne Raddock (male/female?) is a name I am supposed to be in awe of, revere and pay homage to? Exactly who is this troll with a obvious hard-on for the leather community? Sorry pal, but you’re reaching.

    Also, it’s not a gay bar. It’s a LEATHER bar.

    Wow. Color me informed. I been edumacated…by yet another idiot. Ignorance on parade!

    Could it just be that Daphne was the hateful troll that blew the whistle on The Eagle? A disgruntled ex-employee? A rowdy queen who’d had a bit too much to drink and was refused service? I mean, where is all that hate and vitriol coming from?

    And if you are going to stoop to the lowly ploy of printing one negative post out of dozens of positive ones, then it is only fair to present the opinion of someone who takes issue with Daphne’s deprecating comments.

    Name: Firehead
    Date posted: 9/13/2009 1:17:44 PM
    Hometown: Atlanta, GA


    I don’t even know where to start with the “Daphne” stuff. First, there are no alleys around the Atlanta Eagle. There are no bushes that you could be in. Just decently manicured private yards and lots and lots of concrete. The idea of sex sounds on a loud speaker is a great one and perhaps should be something explored but hasn’t been done at the Eagle. As far as Master and Slave parties and orgies on Wednesday and Thursdays? Crazy. I would have been fired for being so late to work on Thursdays and Fridays if that were true. Have I seen some people go a bit too far?, yea. Have I seen drugs sold there? No. Never. I have seen some boys that needed to sit down and take a minute but they showed up that way. The point is how the patrons were treated by the APD and how they were treated because they were gay. I think this is more about the city wanting the property just like with Backstreets a few years ago. “Daphne”, stay home or at least know what you are speaking about.

    So, Mr. Merril, it would appear that Daphne doesn’t really know what the fuck she is talking about. She’s just making shit up to prove her point.

    Just like you seem to be doing, I might add.

  • Charles Merrill

    If you believe that liberated sex in the leather community (comment #48] is the way to go to achieve LGBT rights then go for it. I think we should work on a higher level through the government as did Frank Kameny. However do us a favor, PLEASE DON’T SHOW UP IN ASS LESS LEATHER CHAPS AT THE EQUALITY MARCH ON WASHINGTON. Thanking you in advance for not wearing your S/M harness.

  • schlukitz

    @Charles Merrill:

    Read a comment from the Advocate I posted #49.

    No, Thanks. I’ve already read enough of your bigoted, hateful and discriminatory remarks to last me quite awhile. I don’t like to indulge in arguing with bigots.

    You are just another of a long line of apologists for the gay community and we have nothing to discuss that would be of further interest to me, Sir.

    I suggest that you get in line behind BramNash, Jason, Kerry and similar-minded homophobes who also support hateful, bigoted and discriminatory attitudes toward toward various segments of LGBT community as well as in totality.

    Good day to you, Sir.

  • schlukitz

    @Charles Merrill:

    PLEASE DON’T SHOW UP IN ASS LESS LEATHER CHAPS AT THE EQUALITY MARCH ON WASHINGTON. Thanking you in advance for not wearing your S/M harness.

    Pssst….your morality is showing! And, you don’t even know me.

    Thank you for your latest loathe-filled commentary.

  • Charles Merrill

    @schlukitz: Not for moral reasons. I like to look at bare ass, but concerned about public security. The enemy will attack our whole community for the rear crack exposure of a few.

  • schlukitz

    @Charles Merrill:

    The enemy will attack our whole community for the rear crack exposure of a few.

    But, you have just proved that you are, in fact, a moralist with a uninformed comments like that. Your argument sounds just like that of the Christers.

    Obviously, you have never attended Mardi Gras in New Orleans or Fantasy Fest in Key West, both of which are straight events. There you will see more tits, cunts, cocks, balls and ass-cracks than you can shake a stick at.

    You really need to turn the TV off, get up off that couch of yours and go outside and take a good hard look at the world as it really is, not how you’d like for it to be.

  • schlukitz

    @Charles Merrill:

    I only know what a read from a Google search abut sex at Eagle bars around the country (some with leather slings), and it is completely opposite to your “po oppressed us” position. Read a comment from the Advocate I posted #49.

    Oh, pardonnez-moi!

    How rude of me not to respect your “book-learnin’. I did not realize that you had become an “armchair expert” on the topic of leather bars around the country. Why all this interest in leather bars, I wonder?

    You obviously know so much more about this community than someone (moi)who has spent the better part of his life going to leather bars, hanging out with leather guys and running a leather shop in NYC for the past 44 years.

    I mean, what the fuck would I know about the leather community compared to your “vast” sea of facts, gleaned from the Internet, right?

    Tell me, Charles, do you really enjoy making yourself look like a stuffed shirt asshat?

    You must, because you are certainly doing a bang-up job of it!!!

  • Charles Merrill

    I have enjoyed Southern Decadence, Folsom Street, Dore Alley, Plunge and Plunder cruise ect. so I personally am not a prude, very liberated and don’t shock. “When in Rome do as the Romans do”. The way we appear in Washington is important in order to be taken seriously and have laws changed in our favor. To flaunt nude body parts and wear strings of Mardi Gras beads is not a good strategy.

  • schlukitz

    @Charles Merrill:

    No. 20 · Charles Merrill

    No patrons were arrested. The cops arrested two employees for selling drugs because the owners forgot or unwilling to pay off the Chief of Police. Not exactly the same as Stonewall.
    Posted: Sep 11, 2009 at 8:26 pm.

    Another prime example of how you go off half-cocked before having all the facts. Here’s the story as reported by Foxx, so there is no “gay-slant or favoritism being shown to the LGBT community.

    And DO take note that no drugs were found.

    Any more “poison pen” comments you’d like to make?

  • schlukitz

    @Charles Merrill:

    The way we appear in Washington is important in order to be taken seriously and have laws changed in our favor.

    Stay on TOPIC! You are deliberately derailing the conversation with shit that has nothing to do with the bar raid.

    This is not about the march in Washington. This, Sir, was the topic as headlined by Queerty. I know it’s hard, but try to stick with it.

    Was Atlanta’s Leather Bar ‘Drug’ Raid Just Another Stonewall?

    Take note that I was not the one who originally made the comparison of this raid to Stonewall as you charged me with.

    And just who the hell are you to tell me who I can or cannot bring into this conversation? As it just so happens, I was a friend of Mr. Kammeny’s back in the Stonewall days. Now you are going to “inform” me of what he did and did not fight for? How fucking assuming and cavalier of you! is there nothing that you do not “KNOW” about?

    You deliberately distort facts in a vain attempt to win your stupid, unfounded arguments.

    Not the mark of a honest, upright, gentleman to my way of thinking.

    And speaking of setting examples, I would implore you to take a good hard look at your own shortcomings before pointing fingers at others just like the “family men” who are falling from grace faster than dominos.

  • schlukitz

    @Charles Merrill:

    To flaunt nude body parts and wear strings of Mardi Gras beads is not a good strategy.

    Having seen a photograph of your, shall we say, corpulent body, I would be the very first to agree with you!

  • Charles Merrill

    @schlukitz: You have a vested interest in making a profit through selling leather mdse. Now I understand your leather activism. LOL How funny.

  • schlukitz

    @Charles Merrill:

    Another vain attempt at derailing the thread. Fail!

    Stay on topic.

  • schlukitz

    I find it interesting how you deliberately avoid addressing any of the incorrect statements you have made and which I have disproved by attempting to change the subject. Very devious, indeed.

    With each additional post you make, you, Sir, continue to prove that you are a disingenuous liar.

  • Charles Merrill

    Easy grandpa. I don’t want to give you a stroke. Your leather activism for profit is not that important to me.

  • schlukitz

    @Charles Merrill:

    Another derail. I’m done with you!

  • Charles Merrill

    Good. Your attacks about derailing are tiresome. Derail ? You are the one who changed the topic that you ran a leather shop in NYC for 44 years.

    Your comment as follows:
    “You obviously know so much more about this community than someone (moi)who has spent the better part of his life going to leather bars, hanging out with leather guys and running a leather shop in NYC for the past 44 years.”

  • stevie

    @Charles Merrill: Go fist yourself with a can of Crisco asshole. You’re nothing but another self-hating homo. I hope you are a victim of police discrimination, but not only will they arrest you, but bash your tiny little brain into the concrete. It’s really sad when homos are homophobes. Ashamed are we?

  • jason

    I’m not opposed to men having sexual excesses. But don’t do it under the banner of gay rights. Sexual excess is no more about gay rights than going to the Playboy Mansion is about straight men’s rights.

    Stop playing the victim card to protect your sleaze notions.

  • schlukitz


    Up your sanctimonious hole with another can of Crisco.

  • jason

    No-one cares about your Crisco-inspired sniping.

    I’m simply pointing to the facts. The fact is that the gay male community has been taken over by hedonism addicts. Hedonism addiction is a tragic condition indicative of a lack of self-esteem and an overall dishonest sense of what gay rights is really all about.

  • Jems

    @jason: Do you proof-read what you write before you post? Do you not see how ridiculous your posts are? We have a gay community because gay sex was illegal. Identities were not discussed for fear of being outed. Men and women lived in fear and self loathing. The gay male community hasn’t been taken over by hedonistic addicts, you have projected your hetero-moralistic agenda onto the gay community, and I’m calling your bullshit on it. I don’t want to be like straight people because I’m not one. Being able to express my sexuality however I please is what gay rights is all about, you self loathing young gays who want to hide behind the mask of straight-acting make me want to hurl. And, for the record, I don’t have sex in public, but it’s a part of our collective gay history and if you’re offended by it, don’t participate, or start your own gay movement preferably in some uninhabited place so you don’t bother anyone else. You are an embarrassment to the gay community at large and particularly offensive to me personally.

  • Kropotkin

    “Police have every right to raid licensed premises and check for sexual activity and drug dealing, both of which are illegal on such premises. One of the requirements for holding a liquor license is that you run your venue according to the law. Break the law and you risk losing your license.”

    I wonder how many het bars the Atlanta PD have conducted mass raids on for the exact same issues over the last year, or even three, five or ten years. My intuition tells me that it would be not to many if any at all Jason.

  • schlukitz



    Someone call the cops.

    Bring the Militia out too.

    These godless Hedonists are taking over the country!

  • schlukitz



  • B

    Charles Merrill wrote, “The Eagle is long known to be a sex club. People who don’t live near the eagle have no idea what’s going on.” Actually, those of us who live on the other coast have a pretty good idea of what happened if the reports are accurate!

    It seems no patrons were arrested although they were treated like dangerous criminals. Whatever this bar’s reputation is, if it was running as a de facto sex club during the raid, why weren’t any patrons arrested? Given the lack of such arrests. most of us are going to strongly suspect that the police misbehaved and should be skewered in court because of it. Heads should roll (figuratively, of course).

    The only people arrested were some dancers and bar employees. They handcuffed people wearing only underwear. Why? I’ve seen people wearing only underwear in San Francisco while walking down the street and the police ignore it because it isn’t illegal any more than wearing a swim suit is illegal. Maybe it is tacky, but that should be left to the “fashion police” and “Ms. Manners”, who have no legal authority.

  • schlukitz


    Charles Merrill wrote, “The Eagle is long known to be a sex club. People who don’t live near the eagle have no idea what’s going on.”

    Apparently, Charles Merrill has been sniffing his tubes of Grumbachers Paints for a little too long.

    He’s been to Venice and met with Mr. Obama you see, so that qualifies him to make sweeping statements about a place he admits he has never been to but, nevertheless, knows all about.

    I only know what a read from a Google search abut sex at Eagle bars around the country (some with leather slings), and it is completely opposite to your “po oppressed us” position.

    ’nuff said!

  • Brian Miller

    As I keep reading of these situations, I start to wonder… is fascism making its way into US culture and government?

    Prop 8, DOMA defending Democrats, endless gay venue raids… it makes one start to think, doesn’t it?

  • schlukitz

    @Brian Miller:

    It certainly does!

  • PEter

    @Kropotkin: ANd that’s a good question that needs to be asked before we accuse ANY police department of making targeted attacks. Who else has been subjected to this? I’m not excusing their actions and sayin what they did was right or justified…I’m just growing tired Queerty’s insistence that any bar raid is another Stonewall. They’ve overused the phrase.

  • schlukitz


    I’m just growing tired Queerty’s insistence that any bar raid is another Stonewall. They’ve overused the phrase.

    Peter, I’d like to introduce you to Charles Merrill.

    Charles, please meet Peter.

  • Charles Merrill

    @PEter: Stonewall patrons fought back against the police that’s why it was a historic turning point for LGBT rights. The patrons in the Atlanta Eagle raid didn’t fight back, just complained about being searched for drugs and got down on the floor at the orders of the officers, but so far no formal complaint from any of them has been filed against the arresting officers. I agree, to compare this bar incident to Stonewall is hype. It’s not anything resembling Stonewall. This is a case of a tempest in a teapot.

  • Charles Merrill

    I saw a video on another blog about the protest outside the Atlanta Eagle of 60 men. Sweet gay men in their 30’s and 40’s, look alike guys dressed in jeans and T shirts. Not the leather group I had assumed considering it was a “Leather bar”, but toned down. Well meaning gentle southern gays thinking they were doing their part in fighting for gay civil rights. Again, not Stonewall but I appreciate thier showing a stand.

  • Rob Moore

    @Melbatoaster: I have lived in Georgia since before my first birthday in the 1950s. I moved to Atlanta in 1982. At that time, Atlanta felt more progressive until a man was arrested for sodomy in his own home. With the rise of the Christian right, tolerance has steadily slipped away. It accelerated mightily with the election of Sonny Perdue who is dumb as a a stump, crooked as a snake in the grass, and a rock-ribbed Baptist.

    When the General Assembly fell to the Republicans, the level of ignorance in the Assembly rose exponentially. Prejudice was substituted for rational thought and facts and the words of preachers became holy writ.

    I used to be more active, but I became discouraged when the Pride Festival became nothing more than a big party and so many young men and women who had never dealt with the legal restrictions and threats that once existed felt they had no more responsibility than to have a good time and drop a little money into an AIDS charity. Maybe now, these young people, who didn’t live through the 50s and 60s and did not have to deal with the crisis of the 80s and early 90s when so many were dying and so little was being done by the governments to which we all pay taxes, will pay a little more attention.

  • Rob Moore

    @Kropotkin: You would be correct. To my knowledge the only bars that get hit for these checks are mostly gay bars. A few years ago, a Midtown dance club was raided for drug use. It was 98% gay but did attract a lot of the late night straight crowd on weekends when it stayed open nonstop from Friday to Monday morning as a private club. It had been a very popular place since the 70s disco era. At the time, it was under pressure to sell to a developer who wanted to buy up most of the property in that area, but was resisting because the owners felt the offered price was too low. After the raid, the establishment lost its liquor license and its status as a private club even though no one was charged with drug possession. Shortly after, it closed for good and sold to the developer.

    Another gay bar operating as a private club that was part of the Midtown scene for 30 years closed after the city decided it needed to build a mini water treatment plant on the site about 12 years ago. Apparently, it was not a vital need as the water treatment plant is gone and a parking deck is being built there. In the months leading up to the closure, the city began intensive police patrols to discourage patrons. I was actually questioned by the police once during that time when I stopped there to meet some friends. When he asked for ID and I questioned why he needed my ID, he became quite belligerent and threatened to arrest me for impeding an investigation. I never learned what he was investigating.

    As I stated, I know of no other similar activities involving straight clubs since they were mostly not in the Midtown area. The main concentrations of straight clubs were in Buckhead and Little Five Points or on the Southside where development was slow to start.

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