Since spring, there have been six reported LGBT-related hate crimes at Cleveland’s Cocktail Lounge, a gay bar in the Ohio city.
In the latest incident, 28-year-old Jared Fox was brutally beaten by a group of 20 people after exiting the bar, leaving him with a ruptured ear drum and a bloodied and bruised face.
Young teenage boys have also been caught throwing rocks at patrons of the bar recently.
With this is mind, it’s no surprise that the owner of the Cocktail Lounge was shocked when he received a letter from Cleveland’s Department of Public Safety telling him that police units were being called to the bar too often.
Here’s an excerpt from the letter:
The estimated cost for the city safety forces to respond to your property is approximately $100 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.
Cleveland’s Director of Public Safety Marty Flask has now apologized for the letter, saying that instead, a meeting between the bar’s owner and district officials should be set up in order to resolve the crime problem surrounding the bar.
Nevertheless, members of the Cocktail Lounge community are still upset that the city would try to blame the bar for the hate crimes that Cleveland residents have been committing on its patrons.
“Had they had that response a year ago when people started calling, maybe Jared wouldn’t have been attacked,” said Bryan Lyons, an activist in the community. “Maybe those people on the patio wouldn’t have been attacked. There are hate crimes by people 12, 13 years old — this is serious … it’s sad … To date, the mayor has not spoken to the community.
“We want the city safe, we want to make sure that we’re doing our diligence by making sure the city is aware of the problems.”