Al­leged ‘mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion’ led to early clo­sure of LGBT bars

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An At­lanta Po­lice Depart­ment spokesman claims a “mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion” be­tween city of­fi­cials and APD led to the clo­sure of sev­eral Mid­town LGBT-owned bars in the early hours of Sept. 4, but one bar owner isn’t buy­ing it.

Ten, Blake’s on the Park, 10th and Pied­mont and G’s Mid­town were forced to end events, de­spite hav­ing per­mits that al­lowed them to op­er­ate past nor­mal clos­ing hours. At least one event was hosted as part of Black Gay Pride.

“The bars came to the at­ten­tion of the morn­ing watch com­man­der — an openly gay male — be­cause crowds in the area were spilling out onto the streets, caus­ing po­ten­tial pub­lic safety haz­ards,” Car­los Cam­pos, spokesper­son for APD, said in a state­ment. “The morn­ing watch su­per­vi­sors should have been aware of the City Coun­cil’s ex­ten­sion of bar hours for the La­bor Day week­end, but they were not.”

That morn­ing watch com­man­der has since been re­as­signed. At­lanta Po­lice Chief Erika Shields, who is a les­bian, stopped short of call­ing the ac­tions dis­crim­i­na­tory.

“While I do not be­lieve the com­man­der pur­posely set out to act in a dis­crim­i­na­tory man­ner, his ac­tions cer­tainly gave that per­cep­tion to bar own­ers, man­agers and pa­trons. Our com­man­ders and of­fi­cers sim­ply must show more sen­si­tiv­ity to the con­cerns of our di­verse com­mu­ni­ties,” Shields said in a state­ment.

TEN owner James Nel­son re­port­edly showed his or­di­nance to of­fi­cers on the scene, and later told Project Q At­lanta, “I’ve been in busi­ness far too long and I know what hap­pened on Sun­day night.”

A tor­rent of crit­i­cism from the LGBT com­mu­nity fol­lowed the depart­ment’s ac­tions. Out At­lanta may­oral can­di­date Cathy Woolard said it was “dif­fi­cult not to in­ter­pret the ac­tion as dis­crim­i­na­tory” and fel­low can­di­date Mary Nor­wood said though she ac­cepted Shields’ ex­pla­na­tion, she was “quite dis­mayed” by the in­ci­dent.

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TEN, Blake’s on the Park, 10th and Pied­mont and G’s Mid­town were forced to end events in the early hours of La­bor Day af­ter po­lice ar­rived on premise, de­spite hav­ing per­mits to re­main open af­ter nor­mal hours. (File photo)

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