SWAT Team Raids Gay Gym in Albuquerque, Ct’d…

Monday, July 17th, 2006

If, as I, you suspected that the whole “distributing alcohol without a license” bit was little more than an excuse for a bunch of cops to rough up some queers, it’s looking more and more like you were right:

The warrant for a July 1 raid at the men-only Pride Gym in Albuquerque, N.M., in which patrons claim they were bullied and terrorized by officers, shows that dislike for gay sexual activity may have been a motive behind the incident, local civil rights and LGBT leaders said.

Peter Simonson, executive director of the New Mexico ACLU, reviewed the arrest warrant issued for club manager Ron Cordova, who allegedly sold liquor to patrons of the gym without a license. Based on several statements in the warrant, the alleged alcohol violation may have been a pretext to target a club catering to gay men, Simonson said.

Before the July 1 action, the warrant states, Detective C. Snyder of the Albuquerque Police Department vice unit and agent C. P. Fisher of the New Mexico Department of Public Safety went undercover to investigate the “hot after hours” weekend gathering at the gym, as advertised in a local entertainment newspaper.

[...]

“What’s troubling is that the arrest warrant makes liberal reference to gay sexual activity going on after hours in the facility,” Simonson said. “And that activity, which is done by consenting adults in a private establishment, is not relevant to the alleged alcohol violation and is not illegal.”

The kicker is the undercover cops’ justification for conducting the raid with a SWAT team:

The warrant also states officers’ fears that “sending us into this place again puts us or any other undercover officer in danger of sexual assault and/or great bodily harm and/or injury.” The officers did not say that they were assaulted or even approached while undercover, however.

Ah, yes. Now I understand. You can see why the officers were worried. Honestly, if I have to read just one more account of a 70-year-old naked gay man jumping out of the showers to viciously attack a team of police officers with handfulls of taco?

Well goddammit, it’ll be one too many. Stop the madness.

I retract my criticism. SWAT team fully warranted.

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