It’s taken a little over two years but six Atlanta police officers have been fired — and others face disciplinary action — after an investigation found they lied about what happened during a raid on an Atlanta gay bar the The Atlanta Eagle almost two years ago. The raid which involved ten police cars and fifteen officers. included forcing the patrons lie on the floor during the raid and endure insults from the Police Department. the police arrested eight employees for providing adult entertainment. All charges were either later dropped or dismissed.
After an an investigation into the incident, a report last month stated that at least 10 officers lied and many deleted data from cell phones to hide their actions during the September 2009 raid.
Six officers were dismissed Friday “for violating the department’s truthfulness policy,” police spokesman Carlos Campos said in a statement. Two other officers accused of lying had already been dismissed as a result of an unrelated internal investigation, Campos said, and Chief George Turner ordered that the charges against two others be withdrawn because there wasn’t enough evidence they lied.
On July 1, the Department of Justice cited the Atlanta Police Department’s raid on the Atlanta Eagle, a gay bar, as evidence of ongoing discrimination based on sexual orientation.
It’s come to light today that Atlanta police purposely destroyed evidence pertaining to the 2009 raid on the Atlanta Eagle gay bar, which also just happened to be the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
Attorneys for the bar and its patrons state the following, in a federal lawsuit
Their attorneys complained in court filings, which include transcripts of telephone conferences with the judge, that evidence was purposely destroyed. Electronic backups of e-mails were recorded over. Text messages and photos taken on cell phones are simply gone. According to the court documents, the cell phone data was erased just days after U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten ordered the data turned over to the Atlanta Eagle’s lawyers.
“Throughout this litigation the defendants [the city and APD] and their counsel have acted as if the rules, the law and even the orders of this court simply do not apply to them,” attorney Daniel Grossman wrote
So now the Atlanta Police are guilty of contempt of court, obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence.
The Atlanta Citizen Review Board has ruled that police broke the law and violated civil rights when it raided the Atlanta Eagle gay bar alittle over a year ago on the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
The Citizen Review Board considered two different issues for each of the 24 Atlanta police officers who were part of the raid on the Atlanta Eagle. The first involved charges of false imprisonment. The board found officers had no legal right to search, detain, and run criminal database checks on the 60+ patrons, because none were suspected of any crime. The second issue, abusive language, wasn’t so easy. Although both CRB investigators and the board agreed officers likely used abusive and homophobic language, they couldn’t identify responsible officers. The board, unwillingly, agreed not to sustain those charges. Because the maximum penalty is a three-day suspension, the board tabled disciplinary action. Members want tougher sanctions.” – WABE