ATL judge OKs Eagle settlement; details released
A federal judge has signed the settlement in the lawsuit over that long-controversial police raid of a gay bar in Atlanta.
We knew the settlement involves city shelling out more than a million dollars, split among some two dozen patrons and employees of the Atlanta Eagle leather bar. But it now turns out the settlement also calls for the Atlanta Police to seriously rewrite some of its policies on arrest, search, and seizure. Here’s Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, late Wednesday.
Reed: “What occurred that evening should not have happened and should not happen again.”
He took no questions. Officers will no longer be able to stop the public from taking photos or video of police activity. In “The Eagle” case, 60 people inside were forced to lay still, face down, in some cases in beer and broken glass, during the raid in late 2009. No patrons were found to be doing anything illegal. Eight staffers arrested on code violations either were acquited or had the charges dismissed. The police department will also order new training for its officers, and is required now to more quickly conduct investigations of incidents like this. There’ll also be a new investigation into police conduct into this particular episode; a civilian police review board already sided with bar patrons who said they were verbally and in some cases physically mistreated during the raid. One of the plaintiff’s lawyers says “It shouldn’t be necessary to go to Federal Court to get a police department to follow the law.”
–Chris Chandler in Atlanta