The differences between the Atlanta Police Department’s raid of the Eagle last month and its raid of a strip club last week are becoming more stark. And disturbing.
As more details surface about the Oct. 17 raid at the 24K Gold Club, it’s becoming clear that the criticism heaped on the agency in the aftermath of the Sept. 10 Eagle raid shows police adjusted their tactics before storming the 24K Gold Club last Saturday, whether the publicly acknowledge the differences or not.
First, undercover officers spent five months investigating the 24K Gold Club compared to three visits over a couple of months at the Eagle. Maybe that was simply officers enjoying their time in a strip club for heterosexual men more than a nightclub for gay ones. It’ll be interesting to see the expense reports for the strip club raid, as the cash officers spent at the Eagle seemed excessive and came without explanation.
Nevertheless, undercover officers allegedly found illegal drugs and prostitution at the 24K Gold Club during their probe. No drugs were found at the Eagle, despite an anonymous complaint that helped launched the investigation and a long-standing reputation as a bar with a drug-free environment. But we already reported that.
We also pointed out that when cops busted the 24K Gold Club, they had with them both a warrant to storm the property and Fulton County prosecutors. Officers had neither when they raided the Eagle.
And now, there’s this shocking detail: When cops raided the strip club, they let most patrons go without hassle while detaining club employees and dancers.
That is shocking when you recall this fact from the Eagle raid: Officers, some dressed in paramilitary gear, detained all 62 patrons, handcuffed them and forced them to lay face down on the bar floor for up to an hour. During this, the patrons were searched and their identification run through police computer networks. Some patrons allege officers verbally abused them.
Apparently, that wasn’t the case on Saturday at the 24K Gold Club.
During a five-month investigation, undercover officers bought drugs and witnessed prostitution, according to the report. After five months, police obtained a search warrant and 43 arrest warrants.
On Saturday dozens of police stormed the club. They allowed the majority of the customers to leave and then began searching the club.
During the Eagle raid, officers searched the club—and patrons—as they were face down on the floor. Police brass then defended this tactic during a public forum about the Eagle, arguing that among other reasons, this was done for the safety of officers and patrons.
So, five weeks after police raid the gay club and get greeted with loud criticism from the public and public officials, their tactics change dramatically when they hit a straight strip club. A warrant, prosecutors there to supervise and the release of patrons after they storm the club.
It’s looking more and more like the charges leveled at the police department for mishandling the Eagle raid are being heard at police HQ, even if they aren’t yet being acknowledged publicly.