Police Chief: Gay Bar Was Not Targeted, Liberty's Show Lounge Also Cited
Covington Police Chief Spike Jones said Thursday that a gay bar in Mainstrasse Village was not targeted for violating the city's sexually oriented business ordinance for any reasons related to the sexuality of the performers or the customers.
Police cited four male dancers and the co-owner of 701 Bar on Bakewell Street after vice officers went undercover during a promoted strip show. Officers said in the police report that the dancers showed their buttocks, a violation of the ordinance. Co-owner Mykey Hess was cited for operating a sexually oriented business without a license.
(SEE PREVIOUSLY: Police Issue Citations After Stopping Strip Show at Mainstrasse Bar)
Hess's attorney, Fred Johnson, told The River City News on Tuesday, that he is suspicious that 701 was targeted by vice officers because it is a gay bar. "You can go into other bars in Covington and you're going to find girls wearing bikinis and when you're wearing a bikini, your buttocks is exposed and they're not getting cited," Johnson said.
Jones disagrees and points to a recent bust at Liberty Show Lounge on Scott Boulevard. "There was considerably worse activity at Liberty which was cited for operating a sexually oriented business and a number of other things, so we're not simply targeting one specific club," Jones said. "That's not the case at all."
At Liberty, citations were issued and arrests were made, Jones said.
Jones echoed a comment made by Lt. Col. Bryan Carter who commented on the story Tuesday, saying that complaints were made by neighbors to City Hall about a strip show at 701 and City Hall officials notified the police.
"The officers we sent in showed due diligence and discretion in enforcement of the law," Jones said. "I was really pleased with how things came out in speaking with the supervisor. The bar owner was cooperative. It wasn't as big an incident as some are making it out to be."
Both cases, at 701 and Liberty, will next proceed to court. Johnson told The River City News that a video from inside the bar would likely indicate that no ordinance was violated by the male entertainers at 701 that night.
"We're enforcing the ordinance and whether it's a traditional strip club like Liberty (or a special event), a violation is a violation," Jones said. "We're not looking at it as gender or orientation or perceived orientation, for that matter."
Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News
Photo: Sign at Liberty Show Lounge/RCN file