The Atlanta Police Department have a tough job to do. That needs to be said first and foremost. And it’s an encouraging sign for the LGBT community when a lesbian is appointed to the department’s highest post, as happened with Chief Erika Shields last December. It’s also encouraging when LGBT folks fill other high-ranking positions on the force, as Major Darin Schierbaum does, or when Mayor Kasim Reed appoints a transgender woman to the Atlanta Citizen Review Board, as happened for Tracee McDaniel last August.
And now we have the early bar closures, during the second biggest weekend for the city’s LGBT community, and during the largest Black Gay Pride celebration in the country – which means that scene was likely the final impression that LGBT visitors to the city got before they traveled home later that Monday.
I won’t claim to have the answers to this issue, as there is enough going on right now against LGBT folks and other marginalized groups in this country in addition to having to worry about the intentions of our local police force. But after listening to the community’s reaction to yet another incident that required an apology, I just know it has to stop. Confidence in our various institutions is perilously low right now, and the last thing we need is something else to happen to add another institution to that list, or chip away even further at it.