Report Says Atlanda Officers Mishandled Gay Bar Raid

An investigation has concluded that Atlanta police officers mishandled a raid on a midtown gay bar.


ATLANTA --

An investigation has concluded that Atlanta police officers mishandled a raid on a midtown gay bar.

Six months after the city paid more than $1 million to settle a lawsuit in connection with the raid at the Atlanta Eagle Bar, the city hired a prestigious law firm to investigate what really happened that night two years ago. On Tuesday night, the Atlanta mayor’s office emailed Channel 2 Action News the findings of that investigation and an internal investigation, saying there will be repercussions for the officers’ actions.

“The reports conclude that most of the officers involved in the operation did not conform to the APDs standard operating procedures,” the mayor’s office said.

Officers said they raided the bar on Ponce de Leon on Sept. 10, 2009, after they got a tip that drugs were being sold and that sex acts were taking place there. Police searched about five dozen patrons and arrested eight employees in the raid. Witnesses said officers used anti-gay slurs and roughed up customers.

The report concluded most of the officers involved in the September 2009 raid at the Eagle Bar violated department procedure, and disciplinary action is expected.

The APD Office of Professional Standards found that 10 officers were “not truthful” about the incident, patrons’ fourth amendment rights were violated and discriminatory statements were made during the raid.

The report said patrons were unnecessarily forced on the ground while background checks were run. When asked why, one officer said, “There’s a risk factor involved when you’re dealing with people you don’t know anything about. S&M, that has a stigma of some sort of violence,” according to the report.

Another officer is quoted as saying, “Seeing another man have sex with another man … I would classify that as very violent.”

The city paid 28 people $1,025,000 to settle the federal lawsuit. Officers will also undergo new training within the next 90 days.

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