Gay mayoral candidate Kyle Keyser was refused a spot to appear with other hopefuls in the race on tonight’s WSB debate, but he will rally against the police raid on the Atlanta Eagle, according to a statement released this afternoon.
Keyser was declined access to the live debate on public safety issues, scheduled for this evening on WSB-TV, because he is not a “top tier candidate,” the statement says.
He feels the snub particularly acutely because the topic of the televised debate, public safety, is the lynchpin of his campaign platform. He helped put crime in the public spotlight by creating Atlantans Together Against Crime last year after he was mugged.
The group hosts monthly rallies across the city to raise awareness about crime, including one in Midtown April 27 that attracted mayoral candidates Lisa Borders, Mary Norwood and Kasim Reed, among other elected officials.
In today’s release, Keyser says he will “stand with the gay community in a rally outside of The Eagle” during the broadcast. The protest against APD conduct during an Sept. 10 raid on the Atlanta Eagle is scheduled for 5 p.m. in the gay bar’s parking lot.
Keyser issued a statement Friday about the Eagle incident.
The full text of today’s statement about the debate:
“Crime and public safety is the top reason I am in this race. It is one of the top reasons hundreds of Atlantans came together in order to get me on the ballot. I, myself, was a victim of violent crime and have since brought thousands of Atlantans together to demand better public safety in our city. Tonight, it is a disservice to all of us that our voices won’t be heard.”
Keyser, Atlanta’s first openly gay candidate for mayor, says instead of appearing on TV he will be joining in a community rally outside of The Eagle – a gay bar and nightclub that was raided this previous Thursday. Citing numerous complaints by patrons, a formal investigation was launched into the conduct of the raid by the Atlanta Police Department.
“Tonight, I will stand together with my community seeking answers as to why the raid was conducted how it was. We need the facts. The GLBT community is part of the fabric of Atlanta. They pioneered Midtown before it was a place anyone wanted to live. We deserve the city’s respect. Tonight I stand with my community in support of the investigation and in demand of answers from City Hall.”