Police raid LGBTQ bar during Des Moines protests

Updated: Jun. 8, 2020 at 7:28 AM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (WOI) - A long-standing ‘LGBTQ’ bar in Des Moines says police raided its business during last week’s protests.

The Blazing Saddle released video from its security cameras of the incident from a week ago.

The co-owner, Bryan Smith, says workers tried to give aid to people in need from the tear gas.

Smith says that's when police arrived with their weapons drawn, and ordered everyone out at gunpoint and entered the bar where they found one employee hiding in the basement.

But Smith questions their motive.

“I understand that times are different right now and that emotions are running pretty high and I get that whole thing, but nobody asked who we were, nobody asked for any ID for anything like that,” Smith said.

Des Monies police agree the action used is frightening but say they did it with protecting the bar in mind.

“I think given what we’ve seen around the nation with business owners being beaten and killed, businesses being looted, we had an obligation to go in there and make sure that everything was okay there at the Saddle,” Des Moines Police Sergeant Paul Parizek said. “It does look kinda frightening when police come through the door with guns in their hands, but once we were able to talk that out, everybody was able to understand why were there and what we were trying to do.”

Police eventually let the workers return. They later arrested three protesters. No one was hurt.

See the full story on WOI’s website.

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