Providence Bathhouse In Conflict With Local Police

The police have reported responding to incidents near The Mega-Plex, an LGBTQ+ club on Allens Avenue, approximately 40 times in the past year. These incidents range from alleged assaults to drug possession to concerns about tinted car windows and loitering.

City records document around 40 incident reports, including arrests for possession of methamphetamine, ketamine, and cocaine. These records were presented as opposing evidence to the club’s motion for a court order to prevent police presence on the property.

The city contends that such an order would expose Providence and its residents to increased criminal activity. Senior Assistant City Solicitor Steven B. Nelson emphasized that directing the police not to patrol a specific area would be unprecedented and could jeopardize the safety of both citizens and visitors.

The area in question, bordered by Allens Avenue, O’Connell Street, Poe Street, and Swan Street, houses several establishments, including The Mega-Plex, Wonderland strip club, the Lingerie Store, Silhouettes Gentleman’s Club, and the Bull Pen. The city argues that this concentration of businesses justifies police presence due to the high crime rate.

In response, The Mega-Plex filed a motion seeking a restraining order to prevent what it perceives as harassment and discrimination by the police against its patrons based on sexual orientation. The club, which also provides sexual health and wellness services, asserts that police actions have deterred patrons and harmed business operations, infringing upon their civil rights.

The property owner, Spur Track Properties LLC, along with Narragansett Promotions Inc. and Steven Medeiros, manager and operator of The Mega-Plex, argue that police presence has negatively impacted business and violated constitutional rights.

Furthermore, they claim that police enter Bay Street, despite it being privately owned since 1997. This alleged unwarranted police activity is viewed as a violation of their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

However, the city contends that there is no evidence to suggest selective targeting of patrons compared to other establishments in Providence. Prohibiting police access, the city argues, would only facilitate criminal activity within the club’s vicinity.

The case is set to be heard by U.S. District Court Judge Mary S. McElroy on May 6th.

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