Friday night, as gay rights history was being made in Albany, 20 officers from the NYPD and other city agencies stormed into The Eagle, NYC's biggest leather bar. Inside, they shined flashlights into customers' eyes and forced them to empty their pockets, the Times reports.
NYPD officials say the surprise visit was part of a routine inspection, one of four bars visited that night as part of a program known as MARCH, or "multiagency response to community hot spots." If a bar receives chronic complaints from neighbors, which apparently The Eagle does, they become a target for inspection.
Patrons who'd donned their finest fetishwear and shown up to celebrate the legalization of same-sex marriage were not amused:
"I was on the roof deck, smoking a cigar and having drinks with friends, and all of a sudden, the police showed up and started shining flashlights in everyone's face and offending everyone," said Thomas J. Shevlin, a financial markets researcher and the treasurer of the Stonewall Democratic Club.
"Basically, it is offensive," Mr. Shevlin, 40, said. "It is real serious harassment that they come out on pride weekend."
Six violations were issued in all, including ones for "unlicensed security," "unnecessary noise," and a "failure to conform" to state liquor laws. Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president, says he'll be asking the police commission to conduct a formal investigation. A blot on an otherwise awesome weekend for the gays of NYC.