Responding to heavy criticism, Cleveland officials are rescinding a letter sent to a gay bar complaining that its employees’ nine calls to law enforcement are over-burdening “the taxpayers of the City of Cleveland” and “our safety forces.”
But the repeated calls from Cocktail Lounge were made due to at least six reported attacks on LGBT patrons heading to and from the bar since last spring. The latest incidents involved a group of about 20 people allegedly beating a 28-year-old patron whose eardrum was ruptured and a group of boys allegedly throwing large rocks at patrons.
Still, the bar was sent a letter on Sept. 6 that read: “The estimated cost for the city safety forces to respond to your property is approximately $100.00 per call for service. l am confident that we share the same goal and that you will take the necessary steps to eliminate the repeated calls for police services to your property. Therefore, within 10 days of the date of this letter, you will be required to submit your action plan to the First District Neighborhood Police Commander (623-5105), outlining your strategy to eliminate the problems at this location.”
Safety director Martin Flask told The Plain Dealer that the letter wasn’t referring to the two recent attacks. He said police would work with the owners to address concerns.
Meanwhile, bar manager James Foster told WEWS-TV that, despite the warning letter, he won’t hesitate to call police if necessary.
Critics of the Cleveland police have said the perpetrators and not the victims should be blamed for the repeated 911 calls.