More than two dozen men were arrested Saturday at a Coweta County sports bar that officials had been investigating for months.
Montel Whitaker, a local rapper recently released from prison, was at the Hoops Bar and Grill on Old Corinth Road in Newnan when about 30 law enforcement officers raided the club, Channel 2 Action News reported.
Whitaker, who goes by the stage name M. Deezy, was performing during the “Welcome Home” party. His mother, Altomeisa Smith, told Channel 2 she believes deputies targeted him.
Smith told Channel 2 her son was in prison for cocaine possession and probation violation.
“He keeps getting harassed,” Smith said. “He's just trying to go to the club to perform and make money.”
Jasmine Ball, a bar patron, said officials immediately divided the crowd by sex.
“When they came in, they said the quickest way out of here ... the women on this side and the men on this side,” Ball told the news station. “They didn't check no women.”
On the men, deputies said they found guns and drugs. That violated the terms of their probation and the rules of the bar.
The business owners are under investigation, but no charges had been filed as of Monday, Channel 2 reported.
Sheriff Mike Yeager said the bar has a history of breaking rules, resulting in noise complaints and alcohol license violations.
The fact that the event was heavily promoted on social media led Yeager to joke that if probationers were advertising they’d be breaking rules, deputies had to show up.
Yeager told Channel 2 that officials could smell the marijuana from outside the bar, which is now closed with chains on the doors.
“Pretty much, everybody is doing what they want to out there,” Yeager told Channel 2. “They are not supposed to be in establishments like that on probation or parole — and they're not supposed to be around alcohol and they're not supposed to be around drugs.”
In other news:
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.