Police fire on queer bar owner supporting protesters in North Carolina

Sheriff’s deputies from the Wake County Sheriff’s Department in North Carolina have been captured on video firing “less-lethal” ammunition at a LGBTIQ+ venue owner and his staff.

Ruby Deluxe owner Tim Lemuel had set up a first-aid station in his Raleigh business’ outdoor space to support people protesting against racial injustice, in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody last month.

Video footage captured on the scene shows officers telling Lemuel to “move.”

“This is my business. I rent this place,” Lemuel shouts in response.

The officers continue to shout that Lemuel has to go, loading and firing a shotgun towards Lemuel, his friends and employees.

We must warn the video below could be disturbing to some readers.

“I was in the Army for eight years, so the bangs didn’t bother me, but my staff were scared out of their minds,” Lemuel told News Observer.

“If you’ve never been in that situation it appears like you’re going to be killed.”

“During the seven hours [of protesting], they had, you know, every opportunity to come down and check on us, see what was going on to tell us their concerns. They just chose not to. And at some point they just went straight for guns blazing.”

Eric Curry, a spokesperson for the Wake County Sheriff, said the officers were using tools for “riot-related crime control.”

“We will say only that the strategy to use ‘less-lethal force’ was appropriate, for the safety of subjects,” Curry said in a statement.

“Once deputies urge the crowd to disperse several times and there is non-compliance, the next step is to disperse the crowd.”

LGBTIQ+ person and Raleigh City Council member Saige Martin took to social media to say they know the establishment well.

“This is disgusting — and at the start of #Pride2020 to boot?” Martin tweeted.

“This owner is a veteran so I’m quite certain he knows what excessive force looks like.”

OIP Staff

Image: Instagram (@rubydeluxeraleigh)

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