ATLANTA -- A shocking and vulgar sign about police officers has been posted in front of a local business in Atlanta. The sign could be seen from the street with the curse word blurred out, but the message is clear: It says no cops allowed.
An WXIA News viewer emailed us the photo of the sign. He says he's a military veteran and was offended when he saw it outside the East Atlanta Village gym.
WXIA's Faith Abubey talked to the gym's owner, who is not making any apologies for putting up the sign.
"It was really just that the vulgarity in that sign, and that seems to bring it out for people," said Jim Chambers, owner of the EAV Barbell Club on Flat Shoals Avenue in the city's East Atlanta Village neighborhood.
EAV Barbell Club's 'No Cop' policy is no longer plastered on the front door.
"I didn't want the other folks there to take the heat that I'm willing to take," Chambers said.
Despite the backlash, Chambers says he still stands by the message it conveyed.
"We've had an explicitly stated 'No Cop' policy since we opened, and we also don't open membership to active members of the military," he said.
For Chambers, a lifelong political activist, the sign and policy is a political statement outside a multi-use space which serves as a gym, community gathering spot and meeting place for activists in the metro area.
He says groups who work out there are generally minorities who are uncomfortable with the presence of law enforcement agents.
The Atlanta Police Department would not comment on the policy, but told WXIA News, "Were we to respond to an emergency there, this sign would not stop us from lawfully doing our job."
"If they have a warrant, they can go anywhere they want, but we're not breaking the law," Chambers said.
The question now is what happens if Chambers or anyone inside the gym needs the police.
Chambers says they never have, and won't ever need the help of officers. He says he plans to put the 'No Cop' sign back up without the foul language.
Lawyers we talked with found the policy strange, but said because law enforcement officers are not a protected class under the law, only the courts can decide if EAV Barbell Club is violating any anti-discrimination laws.
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