The Atlanta Police Department today rolled out changes it is making to fulfill the city’s settlement of the lawsuit stemming from the unconstitutional raid on the gay bar the Atlanta Eagle in 2009.
Included in the agreement is that sworn officers will undergo training on the law “regarding detentions, arrests, frisks and searches.” In the lawsuit against the city, plaintiffs who were in the bar the night of the raid said their constitutional rights were violated when they were illegally searched and detained for no reason. A federal judge agreed and the city paid out more than $1 million to settle the federal civil lawsuit in December.
The cost to train the officers will be just under $30,000 and is to be completed by Sept. 1, 2011, according to information released by the APD today. The APD is recommending Ken Wallentine provide the training. Wallentine is a public safety legal professional, according to his website.
The gay bar on Ponce de Leon was raided Sept. 10, 2009, by APD vice officers and members of the paramilitary Red Dog Unit, which has now been eliminated.
Also added to the APD’s standard operating procedures (SOP) is this:
6. Search & Seizure (APD. SOP. 3020)
Section 4.1.6 was added it now reads:
Sworn personnel of the Atlanta Police Department shall only lawfully take or demand identification, or require an individual to identify him/herself when reasonable suspicion exists that the individual is engaged or had engaged in criminal conduct.
A direct result of the Atlanta Eagle raid and the time it has taken to conduct an investigation — an Office of Professional Standards investigation was opened in the days after the raid nearly two years ago but still has not been completed — is this addition to the APD’s policies:
Section 4.2.2 (9) was added and it now reads:
All complaints, regardless of the nature of the complaint, shall be investigated and adjudicated within one hundred and eighty (180) days of the complaint. In instances whereby an investigation is not completed within the aforementioned timeframes, a letter outlining the delay, the extension and the new deadline, must be forwarded to the OPS Commander. This documentation will become a part of the investigative file.
Check back for more details.