SPD apologizes for last week's unannounced 'raids' of LGBTQ+ nightclubs

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SEATTLE - The Seattle Police Department released a statement Friday in response to officers "raiding" multiple gay nightclubs on Capitol Hill last week.

Last Friday, the City of Seattle Joint Enforcement Team (JET) partnered with the State Liquor and Cannabis Board, looking to enforce the state's lewd conduct law at LGBTQ+ venues. The JET is made up of Seattle Police, Seattle Fire, and other law enforcement agencies.

The Liquor and Cannabis Board has already responded to these "raids," sending a letter to Governor Jay Inslee that said they are suspending enforcement of the lewd conduct law while the board considers possible changes or modifications.

SPD apologized for their actions, saying they see how the increased presence of officers in a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community can be harmful.

Below is SPD's full statement:

"Last Friday, SPD participated in support of other City departments and Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board officers in civil code inspections across ten locations, two of which were well-known LGBTQ+ nightclubs. While SPD’s role in these inspections was solely for purposes of maintaining peace, we – as an organization – failed to appreciate the negative symbolism that can attach to the presence of uniformed police officers in establishments dedicated to providing safe space for our LGBTQ+ community. Mindful of the fractured history between SPD and our LGBTQ+ community over the past century and the fragile trust we continue to work hard to rebuild, we as a department fell short of our commitment to remain self-aware of how our actions and presence may be perceived. For the harm we caused, we are deeply sorry.
We recommit to building upon the many positive relationships we share with LGBTQ+ businesses and communities."

SPD and the Liquor and Cannabis Board both said they hope to establish a strong, positive relationship with the LGBTQ+ community moving forward.