by: Rikki Klaus Updated:
ATLANTA - Atlanta police are apologizing for shutting down four bars in the epicenter of Atlanta’s gay community.
TEN Atlanta owner James Nelson said officers approached him at his bar around 12:20 a.m. on Monday.
“They told us we were operating illegally and that we were not able to be open past midnight,” he said.
Nelson printed out the city ordinance stating his bar could operate until 2:30 a.m. because Monday was a holiday.
“I handed it to the lieutenant. He read it and it clearly stated we were operating legally. He looked at me and he said, ‘Mr. Nelson, I’m going to ask you to close your business,’” he said.
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Police also forced nearby 10th and Piedmont, G’s Midtown and Blake’s on the Park to close.
“It was homophobic and I think it was also racially-motivated. We were the only businesses in the city of Atlanta that were asked to close,” Nelson said.
Hundreds of men were at the bars after attending a black gay pride event at Piedmont Park.
“These are known gay places of business, so it’s pretty unfair,” Alanzo Price said.
Atlanta police sent Channel 2 Action News a statement which said:
“Closing the bars early was, very simply, an honest mistake based on a communication failure. 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.”
Nelson said his attorneys have contacted City of Atlanta attorneys. He would not provide further details on what he calls a legal matter.
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