The meeting is open to the public but is not a hearing and no testimony will be given, said Cristina Beamud, executive director of the CRB. The CRB staff is recommending that Shepherd’s complaint be upheld, but the board will make its own decision, she said.
“This will be a review of our investigation made by staff for the board’s consideration and the board can discuss it in any way they want,” Beamud said. “This is not a hearing — this is an investigation that exists on paper.”
The CRB board members received the staff’s investigation last month, Beamud said, giving them time to study the report to discuss it tonight. The board will likely make a recommendation at the conclusion of their discussion. The board can make recommendations to the chief of police, the chief of corrections, the City Council, the City Council president, and the mayor based on its findings and conclusions.
Shepherd, a manager for the gay bar on Ponce de Leon Avenue, filed his complaint with the CRB on March 9. His allegation is false arrest and this is the only matter the CRB will discuss tonight.
Shepherd is also a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit filed by attorney Dan Grossman, Lambda Legal and the Southern Center for Human Rights against the APD and the city of Atlanta with several other employees and patrons of the Atlanta Eagle. In the lawsuit specifically dealing with Shepherd, the plaintiffs contend the police illegally entered Shepherd’s residence and arrested him illegally because they did not have an arrest warrant or a search warrant.
Those issues will not be part of the CRB’s discussion tonight, Beamud said.
“We are investigating an allegation of a false arrest made by David Shepherd. Either it was a good arrest or a bad arrest,” she said.
Shepherd was one of eight defendants in the Atlanta Eagle trial held in March. Known as the Eagle 8, the defendants included employees and dancers who were charged with business license and permit violations. During the course of the trial, the prosecutor from the Solicitor’s Office ended up dropping charges against Shepherd and three other employees; the judge in the case found three others not guilty.
The CRB meets at 6:30 p.m. in Committee Room 2 of City Hall, 55 Trinity Ave. SW, Atlanta, GA 30303.