Rose Room drugging allegations investigated
By Lisa Brody
Following numerous social media postings by women alleging they had been drugged while drinking at the Rose Room at 220 E. Merrill in Birmingham, Birmingham police detectives have launched an investigation after seven women came forward and made formal police reports.
Birmingham Police Chief Mark Clemence said that as of Wednesday, March 24, they had seven women come forward, making claims going back to 2019. Based on social media over the weekend, where an alleged victim posted that she and her girlfriends had visited the Rose Room, which is owned by and located below 220 Merrill, and began to feel dizzy and sick, which lasted for several days. Several other women then posted that they had had similar experiences at the establishment.
Clemence said the problem was “we did not have a victim nor a police report to follow up on.”
The Birmingham Police Department put out a message on Facebook on Monday, March 22, asking anyone who feels they have been a victim of being drugged while drinking to come forward and report the incident to them.
Clemence said a posting by the boyfriend of the woman who made the intial posting, who said he had contacted the Birmingham police at the time, and the police had said “there was nothing they could do,” was not accurate. He said they located and played the phone call to the dispatcher, who encouraged the women to come in and make a police report. She told him that he could not make the report for them, and the boyfriend acknowledged that on the call.
On a radio interview with radio host Mojo in the Morning, the woman acknowledged that as accurate.
Clemence said that they reached out to the female victim, and she and the other two women have come in and made police reports, which they are investigating.
Since their Facebook posting, they received four other reports of similar activity, one of which allegedly occurred on March 13, 2021; another, at a private party on March 14, 2021; another of two women in 2020; and a fourth, in 2019.
“All of these women said they felt sick at the time and had residual sickness for a few days after,” Clemence said.
Representatives from the Rose Room expressed concern with the alleged victims and urged cooperation with law enforcement.
“Everyone in the Rose Room family: from ownership, to management, to our floor and bar staff, want to understand what may have happened here. We have already interviewed our staff and management and we can confirm that we have found nothing that corroborates what we are hearing through social media,” they said through a statement. “However, if there is anything at the Rose Room that compromises the health and safety of our customers, we want to know about it and resolve it. We have policies and procedures in place, but we can always do better. This is critical to us as members of the community. So we encourage anyone who thinks they may have had a concerning experience at our establishment to let police know as soon as possible. We encourage anyone with concerns to please work through law enforcement channels, and we will continue to communicate with them as well.”
Clemence acknowledged the complains are difficult to investigate, as police can no longer do toxicology or blood draws, and for the ones in 2020 and 2019, video surveillance no longer exists. They are reviewing staff at the bar and conducting thorough interviews, and encourage any other potential victims to come forward.
“The more information we have regarding these allegations will help us to bring the potential perpetrator to justice,” Clemence added.
“We went back to January 2016, to look at all police runs, and we did not find a single reported case to the police department,” he said. “We did find a lot on social media. But I deal with facts.
“We take all of these reports seriously, and investigate all of these claims to the best of our ability.”
All remain open investigations.