News

Actions

Baltimore Police to check security at LGBTQ nightclubs

Heightened alert follows Orlando mass shooting
CORP-Digital-Default-Image-1280x720-WMAR.png
Posted at 3:47 PM, Jun 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-14 17:28:39-04
With reminders of the Orlando massacre situated on the sidewalk just across North Charles Street, the owner of the Station North Arts Cafe Gallery, Kevin Brown, is wary of potential violence here in the art district.
 
"I don't feel as comfortable, because there may be people who maybe want to copycat this crime or emulate in any kind of way,” Brown said. “It's a sad and sick thing.  It really is."
 
In the last 10 years, Brown doesn't recall any blatant anti-gay or racist acts here, but some say decades ago, businesses that didn't cater to the straight crowd became targets.
 
"Somebody literally pulled a stop sign out of the ground and threw it in through the door of the bar,” said Steve Cavaselis, “They'd throw hunks of ice.  They'd throw rocks... bottles."
 
While the police department here doesn't anticipate any violence as a result of the gay nightclub shooting in Central Florida, it's not taking any chances.
 
In a letter to the city’s LGBTQ bars and nightclubs, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis offered up officers to conduct security assessments of their businesses.
 
"Just to make sure there are plans in place.  Just reassuring people.  You never expect things like this," said T.J. Smith of the Baltimore City Police Department. "How are you going to communicate with your staff?  How are you going to communicate with your patrons if there is an incident that takes place?"
 
As the city's top cop reminded residents, evil can occur anywhere, and it's a message not lost upon both the businesses and the customers here.
 
"It's an issue that's going to be impacted by everybody's emotions and everybody's feelings and people are talking about it,” Brown said. “People want to have a level of comfortability when they go out whether you're black, white, young, old, straight, gay---they want to know that they're protected in those safe spaces."
 
Also, in the spirit of "see something, say something," police are encouraging businesses to report any suspicious activity that hints at potential violence.
 

Download the ABC2 News app for the iPhone, Kindle and Android.