Atlanta mayor hopes his actions and record will mend rift from bruising campaign
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has learned many lessons in the almost 100 days that he has been in office. One is that he can’t speak as freely as he did on the campaign trail, including about issues like the September 2009 police raid on the Atlanta Eagle, a gay leather bar.
UPDATE II: Mayor's office responds to our blog.
It’s a frustrating fact of being a small media outlet, whether gay or straight. Often, politicians try to avoid taking a stand on controversial issues until the volume of media coverage forces them to get involved. And also often, what finally gets their attention is TV.
The Eagle raid has been compared to the 1969 police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a New York City gay bar, that is credited with sparking the modern gay rights movement.
How do the two raids really stack up? We asked Scott Titshaw, professor at Mercer University School of Law, who teaches “Sexual Orientation and the Law.”
It seemed like business as usual that Thursday night last September, as patrons of the Atlanta Eagle tossed back beers and enjoyed the dancers on the gay leather bar’s popular Underwear Night. But whether what happened next can remain “business as usual” for the Atlanta Police Department is part of a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by several of the men in the bar that night.
Anger competed with relief as my dominant reaction to the news that an Atlanta judge tossed out all charges against the Eagle 8, the gay men who were baselessly arrested during an undisciplined raid conducted by the Atlanta Police Department last fall. Relief won in terms of immediacy, but the anger I felt — still feel — is far more intense.