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Candidate Miguel Gallegos: statement 2009-09-13

posted Sep 18, 2009, 9:25 AM by Todd Vierling   [ updated Sep 18, 2009, 9:26 AM ]


Chief of Staff/Deputy Campaign Manager 
Mitch Esmond - 404-993-9338 

For Immediate Release                                                            September 13, 2009 


Miguel Gallegos, candidate for District 6 expresses deep disappointment in the actions taken by the Atlanta Police Department on September 10, 2009 at the local gay bar The Eagle. "It is outrageous that the police handled this affair in the manner that they did." said Gallegos while visiting the club this afternoon and offering his assistance to help get the 7 employees that were arrested released. Gallegos said “I have made some calls to a few judges regarding this matter and they have agreed to allow those arrested to make bond and be released immediately."

Gallegos said "What I find most shocking is the claim that the bar was visited based on a noise complaint. While a noise complaint against a bar in a residential area is not uncommon I cannot remember a time it required the actions the police undertook in this situation."

Members of the Atlanta Police Department's vice squad entered the club on Ponce de Leon Avenue at about 11 p.m. on Sept. 10 and shut the club down. Patrons and employees were made to lie on the floor, were handcuffed, driver licenses were taken and background checks were run before patrons were allowed to leave.

Richard Ramey, owner of the club said his employees were arrested for dancing without a license. Atlanta Police LGBT Liaison Officer Danni Lynn Harris confirmed Friday morning that eight employees were arrested, but did not or would not disclose on what charges.

Gallegos said "people guilty of nothing but enjoying music and dancing should not find themselves face down on a dirty floor and handcuffed, then searched for drugs and have their ID's run. When did the Atlanta Police decide they can do whatever it is they want to people that have done nothing but go out for an evening. Has the Atlanta Police Department learned nothing from a similar event in Dallas, Texas a few short months ago or the murder of an elderly lady by Atlanta Police a few short years ago?



The pattern and practice of police harassment and terror in the city of Atlanta is out of control and a few bad officers are giving all the other hard working officers who obey the law a bad reputation not to mention a bad reputation for our city.  "The police do not have carte blanche to profile and target members of any community and abuse their rights in a wholesale manner," "During the incident patrons were treated badly, threatened by officers and even called slanderous names such as faggot and queer.

I support the police department and the need to have a safer community to live in, but we cannot support the actions of officers that blindly ignore the civil rights of its citizens. That is why when I am elected I intend to introduce law that will restrict the ability of police to conduct a raid on any business in this city without a notification and approval by the city council. We need to encourage business and welcome new business to this city in order to continue to support the growth of the city. We will not be successful in our efforts if we allow actions like this to ever happen again.