The plaintiffs in the Atlanta Eagle lawsuit will be picking up their checks on Thursday.
The $1.025 million settlement the city entered into with the plaintiffs — patrons of the bar the night it was raided by the Atlanta Police Department — was entered into an escrow account of Lambda Legal, an LGBT legal advocacy organization. Lambda Legal assisted in the lawsuit with lead attorney Dan Grossman and the Southern Center for Human Rights.
Johnnie Curran, one of the plaintiffs, confirmed he received an email telling him the checks were available for pick up at the Atlanta Lambda Legal office on Thursday. He did not disclose the amount he received, but did say the average amount for the plaintiffs was approximately $10,000. There were 26 individual plaintiffs as well as two companies that were part of the federal civil lawsuit.
Atlanta Eagle plaintiffs to receive checks Thursday from city settlement
Robby Kelley and Richard Ramey, owners of the Atlanta Eagle who sued as a company and not individuals, said the amount they received was approximately $80,000. That amount, they said, would only cover the losses the bar incurred following the illegal raid.
“For those of us involved, it was never about the money,” Curran said. “It was about changing the police department’s policies.”
While receiving the check 15 months after the raid conducted by the APD’s Vice Unit and the Red Dog Unit might imply the dispute is over, Curran said the fight continues.
As part of the settlement process, the APD must investigate each officer involved in the raid and Curran said he and the other plaintiffs must still do interviews with the police department’s Office of Professional Standards.
“I kind of thought it would be over when we got our checks, but technically we’re still dealing with and will be dealing with it for awhile,” he said. “It’s not really going to be over until the APD does implement the reforms and changes the way it is run and organized.”
On the night of the raid on the gay Midtown bar, Red Dog Unit officers forced patrons to the floor and illegally searched and detained them for more than hour without a warrant. The officer used anti-gay slurs and forceful tactics to keep people on the floor, including shoving and stepping on backs of people. No patrons were charged.
For the GA Voice’s coverage of the entire lawsuit and settlement process, click here.
For other information, also check out the official Atlanta Eagle Raid website set up by Grossman here.