Federal lawsuit filed against Atlanta police over raid at gay club

Syndicate content Subscribe to the Blog
Posted on November 25, 2009 - 8:03am by Anonymous.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/11/24/georgia.gay.club.lawsuit/index.html
Great news.

Lambda Legal is taking the Atlanta police to court behind the outrageous bar raid in September. According to reports, officers forced patrons to lie face down on the floor for hours, hurled anti-gay slurs at them, man-handled anyone who asked questions and put every patrons name into a computer database before forcing them to leave without their identification.

Here's an exerpt from the cnn article:

"The Atlanta Police Department dispatched about 20 to 30 officers to the Atlanta Eagle, including its 'Red Dog' unit dressed in SWAT team gear," according to a statement from Lambda Legal. "But inside the bar, the APD found no public sex, no drugs or illegal weapons." No patrons were charged with any crime, the organization said.

During the raid, patrons were made to lie facedown on the floor while background checks were run on everyone, the statement said. "Eagle bar patrons heard antigay slurs; were forced to lay in spilled beer and broken glass; and one was forced to lie on the floor even though he had injured his back in the Iraq War."

Patrons say they were "in terror and feared for their lives, believing that the Eagle was being robbed or invaded by criminals or gay-bashers who might kill or injure them," according to the lawsuit.


Other officers came in, including the "Red Dog Unit," a special force that provides "aggressive police presence" in areas with high drug use, the suit said, citing the Atlanta police Web site. Many of the officers in that unit were wearing black, paramilitary-style clothing not immediately recognizable as police uniforms, the suit says.

Police admit they found not drugs (ostensibly the reason for the raid) and no charges were filed against ANY of the patrons.

Police were so desperate to file a charge that they arrested several Eagle employees, for allegedly violating the city's law about unlicensed adult entertainment "because four dancers were observed, in the words of the arresting officers, allegedly 'wearing underwear' and 'dancing,' " the lawsuit said.

"Imagine if the police walked into a Walmart and see someone shoplifting, and because they see what they think is a crime taking place in Walmart, they take everyone at Walmart, throw them on the floor, spread their legs, put their hands in their pockets, take their IDs, put their name in the computer, simply because they're out of place or someone else may or may not be doing something wrong," co-counsel Daniel Gross

Kudos to the 19 plaintiffs who stepped forward to bring this suit. Here's one explaining his motivation:

"People have asked me why I'm doing this," plaintiff Geoffrey Calhoun told reporters. "I'm not doing it because I have a vendetta against the police. I work for a police department. I'm an emergency communications officer. I do my part to make sure these officers go home. I don't work for the city of Atlanta.

"I was in the bar drinking beer, playing a video game, and I was dehumanized and humiliated and laid on the floor for no reason," he said. "That's why I'm doing it."

The suit alleges undercover officers entered the bar before 11 p.m. and had a drink, then later "began screaming at patrons and employees to 'hit the floor' and get down on the ground.

"Several plaintiffs were in terror and feared for their lives, believing that the Eagle was being robbed or invaded by criminals or gay-bashers who might kill or injure them," the suit continues.

Other officers came in, including the "Red Dog Unit," a special force that provides "aggressive police presence" in areas with high drug use, the suit said, citing the Atlanta police Web site. Many of the officers in that unit were wearing black, paramilitary-style clothing not immediately recognizable as police uniforms, the suit says.

While lying on the floor, some people asked permission to move away from the broken glass and were told to "stay down and shut the [expletive] up," the suit alleges. In all, they lay on the floor for 30 minutes to more than two hours, as they were released one by one or in small groups, the suit says.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Blog

February 2012

September 2011

October 2010

May 2010

October 2009

July 2009

June 2009

May 2009

April 2009

March 2007