Gay leather bar stormed by ‘COVID SWAT team’ after drag queen rivals ‘sent a fake complaint’ about kink party
A gay leather bar in Baltimore was raided by a “COVID SWAT team” after a group of drag queens rivals allegedly sent fake complaints claiming the establishment was violating coronavirus rules.
The Baltimore Eagle was raided by authorities who said they were investigating after receiving complaints about the business’s dealings, the Washington Blade reports.
Ian Parrish, the bar’s owner, told the publication that he became aware of the fake complaints ahead of the raid when he saw drag performers from a competing venue discussing their plans “openly” on Facebook.
He said he contacted the Baltimore Board of Liquor and told them that the complaints were being faked by rival drag performers — but the raid went ahead.
Parrish and the bar’s customers were terrified when a team of 12 people wearing “black body armour” began the raid on August 7.
“The horde of the agents in body armour walked through me,” Parr’s wrote in a letter to senator Mary Washington, which was seen by the Blade.
“I was ping-ponged from side to side as each agent physically pushed me from left to right and back about 10 feet as they forced their way past me,” he added.
He alleged that the team abused their authority during the raid with their “SWAT style show of force”.
Raid took place after complaints over ‘naughty’ foam party.
A health department spokesperson confirmed that the raid was carried out by members of the Baltimore Social Club Task Force after they received a number of complaints that the bar was violating social distancing guidelines.
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He said people had complained over a “foam party” that urged customers to wear harnesses and “get naughty” under “safe, antibacterial foam” on their patio.
I’m not trying to point fingers, even though these people really frightened our patrons and affected our business.
In an email to council member Ryan Dorsey, Parrish said: “What was actually relevant about the theme was that it was a threat to a competing venue’s performers to the point they openly discussed in the very same Facebook post their plan to file false complaints — which they did; and again, I personally made the authorities aware of this prior to the raid.”
Parrish refused to name the group of drag queens that he believes orchestrated the raid, saying: “I think this story has a real chance of just touching off more negativity and a bigger problem.
“I’m not trying to point fingers, even though these people really frightened our patrons and affected our business.
“But we’re talking to them since this whole incident. We started talking. We’re really not trying to go backwards and inflame anybody.”