WeHo City Responds on Nightlife Public Safety After Woman Alleges Being Drugged at Bar

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Photo by Jon Viscott courtesy of The City of West Hollywood

The City of West Hollywood is responding on nightlife public safety following a story posted in WEHO TIMES and other news outlets where a woman alleges she was drugged at The Abbey Food & Bar.

In an instagram post, Healy White @haelywhite alleges she was drugged by a bartender employed at the Abbey on Thursday, July 29th.

“On Thursday night 7/29, I believe I was severely drugged (“roofied”) by a bartender at one of LA’s most popular gay bars, The Abbey,” reads her post. “Within 15 minutes having half of my ONLY drink there, I collapsed, vomited at the bar and continued until I got home. I couldn’t function. I barely made it inside my home (see: face). I’m happy I’m alive to share this. If you know me, you understand this would never happen to me. Not a huge drinker, plus I never vomit when drinking.”

The Abbey promptly responded to the allegation urging White to file a police report and stating that it was investigating the matter.

“We were alerted to the allegations by a social media post, we immediately contacted the woman who made them, and we asked her to file a police report,” The Abbey responded via their social media platforms. “We also asked her a few questions so we could properly identify her and start our own internal investigation into the incident. Since then, we have been able to compile video footage of her entire visit. We can find no evidence that suggests one of our staff members spiked a drink. We have shared the information we found on the videos with her, we offered to show it to her, and we are awaiting her response. We will share the actual footage with law enforcement for any investigation.”

To read both statements in their entirety click here.

The City of West Hollywood released a statement on nightlife safety, acknowledging the incident and to inform community members about several initiatives in place to assist in creating and maintaining a safe environment in nightlife establishments.

The City Statement on nightlife public safety reads as follows:

The City of West Hollywood is home to a large number of entertainment-oriented businesses, such as restaurants, lounges, bars, and nightclubs; there are more than 200 establishments in the City. Reopening after pandemic-related restrictions has been an encouraging step in moving forward, but it has also brought into focus new concerns at nightlife establishments.

There has been recent media coverage of claims of individuals feeling that they have been drugged (“roofied”) at West Hollywood entertainment venues and two individuals have filed reports with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station. The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station Detective Bureau is investigating one case and the Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the other case.

Public safety is always the City of West Hollywood’s number-one priority and the City takes these claims seriously. The City and the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station urge anyone who believes they are a victim of any crime – or anyone in the community with any public safety concerns – to reach out to the Sheriff’s Station 24/7 at (310) 855-8850. In an emergency, always call 911.

The City of West Hollywood has several initiatives in place to assist in creating and maintaining a safe environment in nightlife establishments:

The City’s Public Safety Department has developed a training manual “Best Safety Practices for Nightlife Establishments,” which is used as a training tool for owners and managers of bars, lounges, and clubs. It is available on the City’s website at www.weho.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=32877. This manual serves as a guide for the City’s nightlife establishment owners and managers in maintaining safe bars, lounges, and clubs, and keeping them free from illegal activity including drug sales, underage drinking, overconsumption of alcohol, violence, prostitution, sex offenses, terrorism, and more.

The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station’s Entertainment Policing Team (EPT) is a team of Sheriff’s Deputies who are primarily focused on entertainment- and alcohol-related law enforcement issues in the City. On a nightly basis, the EPT actively patrols approximately 60 bars, nightclubs, and hotels and liaises with management of nightlife establishments to build and maintain cooperative working relationships and to stay informed and address concerns. At present, to respond to an uptick in community concerns, the EPT has been engaging with venues about reports filed regarding allegations of drugging. The EPT and the Sheriff’s COPPS (Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving) team will increase patrols and “plain-clothes” operations at bars, lounges, and clubs throughout the City of West Hollywood.

While the City of West Hollywood’s Public Safety Department provides oversight of Sheriff’s law enforcement and community programs to reduce crime and increase public safety, the City’s Code Compliance Division works to maintain the City’s unique urban balance with an emphasis on neighborhood livability. The Code Enforcement team is responsible for enforcing all provisions of the City’s laws and ordinances, as governed by the West Hollywood Municipal Code, and it works to respond to issues and concerns from the community. The Code Compliance Division is currently reviewing opportunities to expand alcohol-server training programs for personnel in the City’s bars, lounges, and clubs. Formerly an opt-in program provided by the City, new state law for ‘Responsible Beverage Service’ (RBS) requirements will take effect in 2022 making trainings compulsory. The City will work with bars, lounges, and clubs to develop a mandatory program that aims to curb harm related to overuse of alcohol, and it will develop a related education campaign to promote customer awareness, safety, and security in bars, lounges, and clubs.

The City of West Hollywood works every day to raise awareness about social responsibility and alcohol with an effort called Imbibe Intelligently, which promotes safety tips and messages regarding alcohol consumption within the community and for visitors enjoying nightlife. Tips to Imbibe Intelligently are provided on the City’s website at www.weho.org/socialresponsibilityand tips are provided in outdoor media in the community and in the City’s social media @wehocity.

For additional information about the City of West Hollywood’s Public Safety programs and initiatives, download “Public Safety in the City of West Hollywood” at www.weho.org/home/showdocument?id=42465 or visit the City’s Public Safety Department website area at www.weho.org/publicsafety.

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