Eleven people were arrested at The Club-Dallas on Friday night, Oct. 8, when police raided the gay bathhouse in Deep Ellum for the first time in several years.
Ten patrons of The Club reportedly were charged with either public lewdness or indecent exposure, while one employee was charged with interfering with police. DPD would only release records related to three of the 11 arrests, saying Dallas Voice needed to file a freedom of information request to obtain additional details.
Laura Martin, DPD’s liaison officer to the gay community, said the vice unit raided the establishment on Swiss Avenue in response to a complaint. But police wouldn’t say who had complained.
Martin said she believes it marked the first time since 2003 vice officers have gone in to the 34-year-old establishment, one of nine similar clubs nationwide.
“We’ve done operations in that club since the late ’70s. There just hasn’t been one in a while because there hasn’t been a complaint,” Martin said. “They [officers] were in there for a legitimate reason, and obviously there was illegal activity going on or that many arrests wouldn’t have been made.”
The Club Dallas on Thursday, Oct. 14 issued a one-sentence statement about the raid.
“The Club Dallas management is committed to pursuing justice for and defending the rights of each of its members,” the statement read.
The Club reportedly helped bond out arrested members from jail and has offered them legal representation.
Martin, meanwhile, warned that additional police activity at the business is possible.
“When somebody complains we have to go in, just like when someone calls 911 we have to go to the call,” Martin said. “Now that so much activity was found there, they can probably expect more vice operations there. … I’ve certainly never been there, but I’ve heard that public lewdness does go on in the club. All you have to do is keep your ears open.”
Though it is billed as “a private men’s club,” The Club Dallas is considered a public place for the purposes of Texas’ public lewdness statute, according to one criminal defense attorney who frequently represents people charged with the crime.
Public lewdness, defined as sexual intercourse or sexual contact in a public place, is a class-A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum $4,000 fine.
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Source: Dallas Voice
As a regular bathhouse patron, fuck this shit. Police raids on gay spaces are supposed to be something that used to happen in the bad old days, FFS.