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Police Criticized For NYC Gay Club Raids

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Police Criticized For NYC Gay Club Raids

by Doug Windsor, 365Gay.com New York Bureau

April 4, 2006 - 11:00 am ET

(New York City) Gay community leaders want answers from New York police over raids Friday night on seven gay or gay friendly businesses.

Executing warrants simultaneous raids looking for drugs were carried out at Splash, Avalon, Deep, Spirit, View, Speed and Steel Gym.

The businesses were all closed while the raids were conducted. Twenty people were arrested, 13 of them for allegedly selling drugs.

Most of those arrested had already been identified by undercover officers.

The warrants were obtained under the city's Nuisance Abatement Law but LGBT activists are questioning why so much force was necessary when police already knew who they were looking for.

"It's a little chilling when one looks back on history," Robert Woodworth, a spokesperson for the LGBT Community Center told 365Gay.com.

Woodworth said in the minds of many gay New Yorkers, especially those in Chelsea where six of the raids were carried out, it brought back memories of the pre-Stonewall era where police regularly targeted gay clubs.

The issue for gay community leaders is not drug arrests, but the use of force and the seeming targeting of just gay and gay-friendly businesses.

But Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly says the raids were justified.

"There was a large amount of drugs and violations of the law taking place at these locations," Kelly told the New York Times.

©365Gay.com 2006


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