Montgomery Pride United event ‘shut down’ after ABC, police inspection

A photo from Pride Fest in Montgomery Sunday.
A photo from Pride Fest in Montgomery Sunday.(WSFA 12 News)
Updated: Jul. 1, 2019 at 7:20 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A Montgomery Pride United event was reportedly shut down after an inspection by law enforcement Saturday night.

MPU posted about the incident on its Facebook page, saying, “The police just shut down the drag shows tonight at Touch of Soul. This is why we fight.” The shows were held as an after party following the Montgomery Pride March Saturday afternoon, according to another Facebook post.

The police just shut down the drag shows tonight at Touch of Soul. This is why we fight. Our queens will be speaking about this at Pridefest tomorrow - information to follow as we learn more.

Posted by Montgomery Pride United on Saturday, June 29, 2019

Montgomery Police Sgt. David Hicks confirmed a restaurant in the 100 block of Montgomery Street was inspected at around 10:45 p.m. Saturday night. Touch of Soul Café’s address is 115 Montgomery Street. Hicks said MPD and Montgomery Fire/Rescue assisted in a pre-planned ABC Board inspection detail of clubs and bars in Montgomery, during which MFR saw the restaurant had armed security and people collecting money at the door.

Hicks said the kitchen was not operating at the time, and Dean Argo with the ABC Board stated a restaurant license is issued for locations that are “habitually and principally” used for the purpose of preparing and serving meals for the public to consume on the premises. Hicks said after a safety inspection was completed MFR told the owner that the business, as a restaurant, needed to close by midnight. No citation was issued and no arrests were made.

Argo said all ABC licensed and permitted premises are subject to inspection at any time and no agency was targeting the restaurant or any of the other businesses inspected.

A Touch of Soul Café’s owner, Geri Moss, disputed the claim that the kitchen was not operational. She said there were two certified cooks on site that night, and food was prepared in the kitchen.

“My kitchen is never closed, unless the café is closed,” she said.

The event was slated to begin at 11 p.m., and Moss said there were no customers in the restaurant when authorities arrived. She doesn’t know why police are stating money was being taken up, as there were no customers yet at the business, she said.

Touch of Soul Café has compared the incident to the Stonewall riots. This year is the 50th anniversary of the infamous police raid on the Stonewall Inn, then an underground gay bar. The raid on the New York bar is said to have sparked a rebellion that fueled the modern LGBT rights movement.

WSFA 12 News has reached out to MPU for more information about Saturday night. We are waiting to hear back.

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