Bob Jamerson, aka Baton Bob, the gay street performer known for his whistle-stopping performances throughout Midtown, is apparently settling a federal lawsuit with the city of Atlanta for $20,000. The lawsuit stemmed from his 2013 arrest while celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a major portion of the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act.
The settlement was apparently reached April 28 and is to be closed out by May 28, according to court documents.
Creative Loafing is reporting the Atlanta City Council’s Public Safety Committee will take up the settlement Tuesday.
Baton Bob and his attorney, Joshua Brownlee, first sued the city and members of the Atlanta Police Department in June 2014.
The suit was later voluntarily dismissed by Brownlee and then refiled in February 2015.
Baton Bob was charged with two counts of simple assault and one count of obstruction of a police officer in the June 2013 arrest.
After the arrest and while in custody, Baton Bob, was able to get on Facebook and send a message to his approximately 5,000 fans to say he was treated with respect by the APD. However, Baton Bob later stated he he was actually coerced by the APD to make the public statement.
Brownlee, who is straight, took the case on pro bono after reading about it in the media.
“The police coerced him into making a Facebook statement while he was in custody. Nobody I know has ever seen anything like this before,” Brownlee told the GA Voice in November 2013. He said Baton Bob’s case reminded him somewhat of what happened with the Atlanta Eagle raid in 2009 when officers busted into the gay bar and forced some 60 plaintiffs to the floor. The APD’s actions were found to be unconstitutional by a federal judge.
“I think they [the APD] still believe they think they can do a spit and polish to cover up a culture of corruption against the LGBT community,” Brownlee said at the time.
A police report states Baton Bob was “disturbing” security guards at 1197 Peachtree St. on June 26, 2013. The alleged victims were two women security guards who complained to police that Baton Bob frequents Colony Square “and causes a disturbance daily.”
The police report goes on to state Baton Bob was at the corner of Peachtree Street NE and 14th Street NE “dancing and gyrating in a sexual manner on the city sidewalk blocking pedestrian traffic.”
Then, when an Atlanta Police officer approached Baton Bob, the street character, well known for his salty language, said to him, “Fuck you, what’s this about,” states the report.
Baton Bob scuffled with the officer and then, according to the report, he kicked the officer’s leg and attempted to kick him in the groin. After Baton Bob was finally cuffed, the report states he told the female security guards, “fuck you, bitch” and also called the the police officer a “black bitch.”
The arresting officer, H.J. Davis, states in the report that Baton Bob soon had a complete change in demeanor and “continued to apologize and stated he was thankful for how respectful I was. When the suspect arrived at the precinct he was even more cooperative and continued to apologize.”
While in custody at the precinct, Baton Bob posted to his Facebook fans that he was treated with nothing but respect by the APD.
“First of all, the atl police officer that responded to the incident thru security has been very respectful and gracious to me even in handcuffs. So, the situation escalated from a complaint from a security officer in the area and for some reason she rolled up on me like she didn’t know who I was and like I had not been there before. For them to call police to come to intervene was not necessary. So, out of it, because of my fury, the Atlanta police officer did not understand the elements of the situation, so he was trying to do his job, respectfully and arrested my ass!!!!!!!!! I’ll be out tomorrow so look out for my show at 14th and Peachtree. So now I’m waiting to be transported so I can sign my own bond and get the hell out of here. I want to verify, that the Atlanta police was respectful to me considering the circumstances. See you when I see you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Two months later, in August, Baton Bob took to Facebook again and said he was coerced into making that Facebook post on June 26 while in custody.
Baton Bob said he dictated to the arresting officer a post to his Facebook page.
“I was taken to precinct #5, and put in a swivel chair in the lobby with my hands handcuffed behind me. The arresting officer came over and I asked him what I was charged with? He said, ‘this could have been different’. “Other officers came by and asked, ‘what is he doing here?’ One of the other officers in the precinct poked his head out and said, ‘the story is on the AJC’s website, already’; even before I was booked! the arresting officer had calmed down by now, and said there had been a lot of bad arrest in the past, and he asked me; if I would make a statement on my Facebook page saying, they treated me, ok. I sat in that swivel chair, a black gay man, in costume with my hands handcuffed behind my back; and I surrendered. I didn’t want confrontation, I just wanted to regain some of the pride, that was taken; that day! Without my attorney, and without Miranda being read to me; I made a Facebook post to my 5000 fans, in the precinct, typed by the arresting officer, as I dictated to him; on his computer.”
Baton Bob, known for his salty language, has run afoul of some fans, especially after a nasty rant posted to Facebook on July 4, 2013, in which he went after a “white lesbian bitch.”