Atlanta Police Report Series Of Robberies Initiated On Grindr

Officer Eric King, LGBT Liaison for Atlanta Police Department
Photo of the gay dating app Grindr
(image via Depositphotos)

Over the past four months, at least 8 gay men in Atlanta have been reported being robbed by men they met on the dating app Grindr.

During a press conference Wednesday, Sergeant Rodney Jones of the Atlanta Police Department’s robbery unit told reporters, “From February to May, we have had eight instances where male victims were lured to remote locations by use of the Grindr app.”

“After the date concludes, the suspect will rob the victim, often taking their wallets, keys, or even vehicles,” added Jones.

Each of the victims told the police they met their assailants on Grindr. The robbers, using stolen photos for their profile, would strike up a conversation with the intended victims and then move the chat to text messages.

Jones says most of the robberies occurred with the perpetrators wielding a handgun “at the end of the date.”

One victim reported that he had picked up the Grindr ‘date’ and drove to a remote part of Atlanta. Once there, the robber pulled a gun demanding the victim “give me the car and everything you got.”

Police say they’ve traced at least one Grindr profile to some of the robberies, and described the potential suspects as being six feet tall, slim but muscular build, late teens to early 20s, dark-skinned Black men with short dreads.

The authorities believe one alleged robber is responsible for many of the crimes which have taken place in the northwest part of the city, while another man (or possibly two) have committed similar crimes in the southeastern area of Atlanta.

Officer Eric King, LGBT Liaison for Atlanta Police Department
Officer Eric King, LGBT Liaison for Atlanta Police Department

It’s possible even more Grindr-related robberies have occurred as police believe some men may be embarrassed to report the crimes.

Also taking part in the press briefing was Officer Eric King, who serves as the LGBT liaison to the Atlanta Police Department. King offered some tips on how to improve safety when meeting someone new from Grindr.

He advised having a video chat with the potential date before meeting up in person. And if you are driving to meet that person, look up the address to make sure it makes sense as opposed to showing up and finding it to be a remote location.

“Find a partner or a friend that you trust that you can notify when you’re going to meet somebody,” added King. “Meet at a grocery store. Meet at a public place before you reconvene somewhere more intimate.”

This isn’t the first time Grindr has been used to target victims.

In January 2020, I reported on a Michigan man whose Grindr date went horribly wrong after being targeted via the dating app.

And in 2017, four men pleaded guilty to violent home invasions set up on Grindr.

Watch the press conference by the APD below.

PSA: Male Strippers Want You To ‘Get Your Pole To The Polls’

The men of Atlanta’s world-famous Swinging Richards want you to get your ‘pole to the polls’ and help ‘swing the Senate.’

As the guys spell out so vividly, Georgia will decide on January 5 which political party will control the U.S. Senate. So, if you live in the Peach State, make sure you vote in the runoff elections.

Blah, blah, blah… On to the video and the guys 🙂

Man Dies While Attending Unofficial Atlanta Pride Dance Event

(photo by Maurício Mascaro via Pexels)

While Atlanta Pride organizers decided to hold a series of virtual Pride events this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, there were still some unofficial live dance events where video and photos of shirtless men dancing shoulder to shoulder made their way onto social media.

One party-goer died early Sunday morning at one of the unofficial events.

From The Advocate:

Emergency workers had attempted to resuscitate the man, who was found unconscious at the club BJ Roosters; he had passed out in the venue’s basement earlier in the morning after consuming the drug ecstasy, said his partner. Atlanta police found no signs of foul play, but an investigation is ongoing.

The event held early Sunday morning at BJ Roosters, from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m., was Xion, a gay circuit party thrown by Ga Boy Events. The group had organized several unofficial events during Atlanta Pride weekend, including a Saturday night party at the Underground Atlanta mall with Danny Verde and an event at District Atlanta with Nina Flowers.

One of Xion’s attendees, who asked to remain anonymous, forwarded a statement to The Advocate claiming that pandemic guidelines were not being enforced at the event, which was “packed” with hundreds of guests to “overcapacity at times.”

The victim was apparently in crisis for over 30 minutes with an onlooker performing CPR before paramedics showed up. The witness also told The Advocate that he’d attended parties all over the world and never been to one without EMTs standing by.

Podcast: Gay Nightclubs & COVID-19, Billy Porter, Small Town Ambushes LGBTQ Pride

In this episode of The Randy Report podcast: new HIV strategy, 2022 Golden Globe Awards, Elvira Mistress of the Dark

The Randy Report podcast delivers the week's top stories in a quick, convenient podcast - 'the 60 Minutes of gay news - only shorter'

In this week’s headlines:

• A new lawsuit challenges Virginia’s new law banning LGBTQ discrimination

• Atlanta’s gay nightclub Heretic shut down over COVID-19 diagnoses after a sweaty dance party

• A pro football player’s homophobic Twitter rant backfires bigtime

• A small town council refused to recognize Pride Month, so activists staged a ‘Pride Ambush’

• Billy Porter breaks down another barrier as he becomes the first out Black man to cover ESSENCE Magazine

Plus, new music from out UK singer Paul Middleton “When Love Takes Over”

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report

News Round-Up: July 1, 2020

Craig Ramsay (photo: Nathan Cox)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Woofy Craig Ramsay (above) celebrates Canada Day in his own inimitable style as shot by Palm Springs photographer Nathan Cox.

Pink News: A gay club in Atlanta has finally decided to close its doors until further notice, after a club night last weekend led to several partygoers contracting coronavirus. A video of the party at popular gay club Heretic in Atlanta, Georgia, was circulated on social media, showing hundreds of men dancing close together without masks. The number of new cases of COVID-19 has skyrocketed in Georgia in recent weeks.

NYC Pride: ICYMI, check out the soulful performance by trans artist/producer D. Smith for NYC Pride Month. The continually creative Smith, who among other recent achievements includes writing and producing Billy Porter’s #1 Billboard Club track, “Love Yourself,” picked up the mic to soothe virtual viewers with her richly-layered take on “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” If you like, click here to check out her latest music video, “That’s Why I Love You.”

Broadway: Want to watch a Broadway legend dazzle on stage for an incredible cause? On July 10, theater fans will be able to watch Bernadette Peters in a never-before-seen-online concert to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The 2009 performance, Bernadette Peters: A Special Concert. will be free to stream here at 8pm ET. Donations are encouraged but not required for viewing.

CBS News: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced that indoor dining won’t be allowed to resume when New York City reaches Phase 3 of reopening next week. It will be delayed “until the facts change and it is prudent to open,” he said.

The Independent: After more than 48K new cases of coronavirus in the US were announced on Tuesday (the highest number since the pandemic began), Donald Trump repeated his belief that the coronavirus is going to “just disappear.” “I think we’re gonna be very good with the coronavirus. I think that at some point that’s going to, sort of, just disappear — I hope,” Mr. Trump told Fox Business on Wednesday.

Atlanta Police Officer Faces 11 Charges In Murder Of Rayshard Brooks

Former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe (via Atlanta Police Dept)

From the New York Times:

A former Atlanta police officer was charged on Wednesday with murder and aggravated assault in the killing last week of a black motorist outside a fast-food restaurant, and prosecutors revealed chilling new details of the late-night encounter, including that the officer kicked the dying man after shooting him twice in the back.

The former officer, Garrett Rolfe, faces a total of 11 charges in connection with the death of the motorist, Rayshard Brooks. The shooting, which was captured on a widely circulated video, has prompted the resignation of Atlanta’s police chief and further inflamed the tensions over race and policing that are roiling the nation.

At a news conference on Wednesday to announce the charges, prosecutors said that Mr. Rolfe declared, “I got him,” after firing the fatal shots at Mr. Brooks. Mr. Rolfe kicked the victim, prosecutors said, while his partner stood on the fatally wounded man’s shoulder.

Mr. Rolfe and his partner, Devin Brosnan, both of whom are white, then failed to render aid for more than two minutes, said Paul L. Howard Jr., the Fulton County district attorney.

Brosnan was charged with three counts, including aggravated assault and violations of oath, although he is said to be cooperating with prosecutors in the case.

News Round-Up: February 25, 2020

Karl Thorssen (via Twitter)

Some news items you might have missed:

Twitter: After the hashtag #BisexualMenExist began to trend on Twitter, Karl Thorssen joined the party tweeting the pic above with the caption, “Joyfully reminding y’all that and sometimes take selfies in trucks.” #woof

The Advocate: An Atlanta man who pretended to be gay in order to befriend a lesbian has been convicted of raping her in 2015.

HRC: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who is technically still running for the Democratic nomination for president, refused to answer questions regarding LGBTQ issues for the Human Rights Campaign.

Politico: Two Florida Democrats have filed a lawsuit asking that Sen. Bernie Sanders be disqualified from the Democratic primary because he’s a declared independent. The two military veterans argue that because Florida has a closed primary only declared Democrats should be on the ballot.

Reuters: The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to uphold a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit against a Border Patrol agent for fatally shooting a 15-year-old Mexican boy on Mexican soil from across the border in Texas. The family sued in federal court accusing the agent of violating the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment ban on unjustified deadly force and the Fifth Amendment right to due process. The court dismissed the case saying people who are not in the United States at the time of a cross-border incident to file civil rights lawsuits in federal court.

New Music: Hailing from rural isolation on a sheep farm in the Scottish Highlands, ONR (pronounced “honor”) drops his new track “Sober” (feat. Carina Jade). The track draws musical inspiration from both indie rock and 80s synth-pop while the video is an intoxicating wash of pink, black and blue light. “Sober” is his debut release on Warner Records and the first off his forthcoming Must Stop EP, out May 15.

Gay Stripper Gets Life In Prison For Murder Of Secret Lover

William Bradley Morgan (mugshot)

A former dancer at a gay strip club in Atlanta has been sentenced to life in prison for killing his boyfriend.

William Bradley Morgan, 37, was convicted on multiple charges including the murder of 43-year-old Brian Campbell, as well as aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, theft by taking, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the two men met at a club in 2015. At the time, both were married to women.

Morgan was employed as a dancer at the infamous all-nude Swinging Richards gay nightclub in Atlanta. His estranged wife lived in Alabama.

Campbell, an executive for Comcast, lived in Delaware with his wife and children, but business trips brought him to Atlanta frequently.

The two men soon became intimate and secretly began living together.

But over time Morgan became financially dependent on Campbell. The financial situation, along with Morgan’s addiction to methamphetamines and the secret nature of their relationship eventually led Campbell to consider ending the romance.

After spending the day at a racing event on October 1, 2016, Campbell apparently told Morgan he was leaving him. 

It was at that point that Morgan shot Campbell twice in the head. Attempting to cover up the murder, he wrapped Morgan in plastic trash bags and hid the body in a closet.

Morgan turned the thermostat down and lit a scented candle presumably to conceal the smell. On his way out the door, he stole Campbell’s Land Rover Discovery, two expensive watches, his cell phone, an iPad, his wallet and a handgun.

It would be four days until Campbell’s body would be found when his wife contacted authorities filing a missing persons report. His abandoned vehicle was found in Calhoun County, Alabama. Two weeks later, Morgan was arrested in Jacksonville, Alabama, after a standoff with police.

After his arrest, he admitted to the secret relationship and stealing Campbell’s belongings, but denied committing the murder.

Morgan had previously spent time in prison for aggravated assault and domestic violence.

This week, Fulton Superior Court Judge Shawn Ellen LaGrua sentenced Morgan to life in prison.

Atlanta Joins North Carolina Travel Ban Over HB 2

At last count, the cities and states with travel bans to North Carolina – over the anti-LGBT HB 2 legislation – include Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, New York City, New York state, Vermont, Connecticut, Minnesota, and Washington state.

You can now add Atlanta to the list:

Atlanta’s mayor has issued a travel ban to North Carolina. This comes after controversy over a nondiscrimination bill that some believe allows for discrimination.

Mayor Kasim Reed’s office issued the following statement Monday: “As a result of Governor Pat McCrory’s decision to sign discriminatory and unnecessary legislation into law, effective today I am directing all City departments to stop non-essential, publicly-funded employee travel to the State of North Carolina.

“I extend my support to Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, who worked to enhance protections for the city’s LGBT population, as well as to the LGBT residents of North Carolina. Every person, regardless of their gender, gender expression or sexuality is a valued member of our community.”