Cleveland officials back-tracking after harassing gay bar over calls to police
City officials in Cleveland walked back from a letter accusing a local gay bar manager of placing “an undue and inappropriate burden” on taxpayers and police by reporting violence outside his business, in spite of a rash of hate crimes over the past week.
WEWS-TV reported on Thursday that the city has rescinded a letter sent by Director of Public Safety Martin Flask to James Foster, who manages Cocktails Lounge.
The bar was the site of both a mob attack by 20 men against one man on Sept. 3 and a separate incident three days later involving a group of minors throwing rocks at the bar. Both incidents are being investigated as hate crimes.
Towleroad reported that in his letter, Flask complained to Lyons about police being called nine times over the past year.
“Repeated calls to the same property place an inappropriate burden on the taxpayers of the City of Cleveland and on our safety forces,” Flask wrote. “The estimated cost for the city safety forces to respond to your property is approximately $100.00 per call for service.”
Flask also ordered Lyons to submit an action plan to police “to eliminate the problems at this location,” under threat of legal action.
Officials described the letter to WEWS as an “unfortunate coincidence,” arguing that the calls in question did not include the two hate crime investigations.
Foster told WEWS the other calls were made by other managers and customers to alert police to incidents happening in the neighborhood surrounding the bar.
“It’s about protecting those young kids, a woman and her child,” Foster said to WEWS. “It could have been them that were assaulted”
Watch WEWS’ report, aired Thursday, below.
[h/t The Advocate]