In the early hours of Monday morning, a shocking incident unfolded at Bar:PM, a cherished LGBTQIA+ safe space in St. Louis. A police patrol car crashed into the front of the bar, leading to the arrest of one of the business owners. The incident has left the local community demanding answers and raising concerns about police conduct. In this article, we will delve into the details of the incident, the aftermath, and the ongoing investigation, shedding light on the controversy that has gripped St. Louis. The Crash at Bar:PM – Unraveling the Controversy Surrounding the St. Louis Gay Bar Incident
The Crash and Conflicting Accounts
Around 12:30 a.m. on Monday night, Chad Morris and James Pence, co-owners of Bar:PM, were startled by a loud boom. Rushing to the front of the business, they were met with the sight of a St. Louis police patrol car crashed into the bar. Conflicting accounts emerged regarding the cause of the crash. While the police report stated that the driver overcorrected due to being too close to a parked car, James Pence claimed that the officer swerved to avoid hitting a dog. The initial moments after the crash set the stage for a series of events that would escalate the situation further.
Altercation and Arrest
As the co-owners assessed the damage caused by the crash, tensions rose with the arrival of the police officers. James Pence initially refused to provide his ID when asked, leading to his handcuffing. Chad Morris, shaken by the incident, confronted the officers and allegedly heard one of them use a homophobic slur. The situation quickly escalated, culminating in a physical altercation between the officers and Chad Morris. Morris was subsequently arrested and charged with third-degree assault on a special victim, a felony.
Reduced Charges and Video Evidence
In the aftermath of the incident, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office reduced the charges against Chad Morris to fourth-degree assault and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors. The co-owners’ attorney, Javad Khazaeli, emphasized the existence of video evidence that allegedly portrays the police officers as the aggressors. Khazaeli expressed dissatisfaction with the reduced charges, stating that they “won’t be enough” and vowing to hold the officers accountable.
Igniting Community Outrage and Demanding Answers
News of the incident quickly spread, igniting outrage within the St. Louis community. Bar:PM had long been a haven for LGBTQIA+ individuals, and the incident raised concerns about the treatment of marginalized communities by law enforcement. Community members demanded transparency, answers, and accountability from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the city’s mayor’s office. The incident also sparked a broader conversation about police conduct and the need for reform.
Ongoing Investigation and Response
Amidst mounting pressure, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office initiated an investigation into the incident. The bodycam footage of the crash and subsequent events is currently under review. Additionally, questions have been raised regarding whether the officers involved were subjected to toxicology tests for alcohol or drugs. Lt. Col. Renee Kriesmann confirmed that the officer driving the patrol car admitted to being distracted by changing the in-car radio before the crash. However, no toxicology tests were conducted after the incident.
Seeking Justice and Accountability
Javad Khazaeli, the attorney representing the co-owners of Bar:PM, expressed their goal of having all charges against Chad Morris dismissed. They aim to determine what legal claims their clients have against the officers involved and to ensure accountability for the alleged mistreatment. Khazaeli emphasized the importance of preventing police officers from terrorizing individuals who are victims of a crime and demanding fair treatment and respect.
Community Support and Solidarity
In the wake of the incident, the St. Louis community rallied around Bar:PM and its owners. Messages of support poured in from individuals and organizations, emphasizing the importance of LGBTQIA+ safe spaces and standing against discrimination. The incident served as a reminder of the need for unity, understanding, and advocacy for marginalized communities.
The incident at Bar:PM in St. Louis has brought to the forefront issues of police conduct, LGBTQIA+ rights, and the quest for justice and accountability. As the investigation unfolds, the community remains determined to seek answers, hold the involved officers accountable, and ensure that incidents like these do not recur. The incident serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for equality and the importance of safe spaces for marginalized communities.