New York police try to shut down gay bar

Last Updated: Sat, Aug 21, 2010 13:30 hrs

New York police are trying to shut down a bar for gay and transsexual black men after undercover officers found drug deals going on inside it.

Gay activists and civil rights lawyers have, however, said they will go to court to try to stop the New York Police Department (NYPD) from closing the Chi Chiz bar.

The NYPD told the Manhattan Supreme Court that undercover officers have witnessed the sale of marijuana, cocaine and other contraband substances in the bar, which opened 12 years ago, the New York Post reported Saturday.

But supporters of the bar said the move is motivated by racism and homophobia 'in a community that's increasingly white and wealthy'.

'Manhattan so-called liberals are only so when it affects others. Otherwise, they cry 'quality of life' and 'not in my neighbourhood',' an activist named Allen Roskoff said.

The bar's lawyer, Tom Shanahan, said the court asked the bar to give a guarantee that no drugs would be sold or used on its premises - but the bar could not promise that.

'We can't guarantee that,' Shanahan explained. 'The terms they are insisting on would put us out of business. This is what they wanted all along.'

He also accused undercover cops of encouraging people to go into the bar to buy drugs. 'It's a set-up, an entrapment,' he said.