Eight "John Does" settled with the city rather than be part of the lawsuit filed Thursday in Fulton Superior Court against Mayor Kasim Reed and more than 20 individual police officers saying their constitutional rights were violated when police raided the Atlanta Eagle, a Midtown gay bar, on Sept. 10, 2009.
The amount of money the eight men settled for is not known publicly and will not likely be made public until the city council is expected to vote on approving the settlement in the next several weeks. However, attorney Dan Grossman, representing the plaintiffs in the second Eagle lawsuit, said negotiations with the city have been going on for several months.
Eight Atlanta Eagle patrons settle with city, second lawsuit moves forward with 10 plaintiffs
Repeated requests this week for comment from the city have not been answered. Reese McCranie, the gay deputy director of communications for Mayor Reed, said today that a statement may come Monday or Tuesday.
The second Eagle lawsuit seeking a trial was also amended today to add an additional plaintiff, bringing the total plaintiffs to 10. Today was the last day to file a lawsuit against the city before the two-year statute of limitations expired.
The 10 plaintiffs now suing Reed and 25 individual police officers involved in the raid, some of whom have since been fired, are seeking monetary damages for having their constitutional rights to not be searched and held without cause.
The second Eagle lawsuit is Burkes v. Reed.
Filing in Fulton County Superior Court rather than in federal court, where the first lawsuit was filed and resulted in the city settling the lawsuit for $1.025 million with 19 plaintiffs, is a strategic decision, Grossman said.
Grossman added that he hopes the individual officers named in the second lawsuit seek their own attorneys to represent them rather than the city’s Law Department. In the first lawsuit, the officers were represented by the city’s attorneys.
“We’re concerned that there may have been a conflict of interest with the city’s Law Department representing the individual officers in the first case and we hope and expect individual officers will get their own attorneys who will look out for their interests rather than the city’s interests,” Grossman said.
Grossman was the lead attorney in the first Eagle lawsuit and worked with Lambda Legal and the Southern Center for Human Rights in that case.
In the second lawsuit, Grossman is working with Gerry Weber, a constitutional attorney with the Southern Center for Human Rights.
Patrons of the Eagle included in this lawsuit were not able to participate in the first lawsuit for various reasons, including professional reasons.
The individual police officers named in the suit along with Mayor Reed are:
• Willie Adams III — fired for “lack of truthfulness” in the Eagle raid investigations
• Bennie Bridges (who was fired after two scathing investigations conducted by the city were released showing officers did not follow procedure during the raid. Bridges was also arrested for possession of marijuana and speeding in a city vehicle in Cobb County)
• John Brock, who made anti-gay comments during the investigation into the raid by the law firm Greenberg Traurig and former U.S. Attorney John Whitley.
In the investigation, Brock, who was a key player in organizing the raid, said he forced patrons to the floor because he believed there was violence associated with being in a leather bar:
“There’s a risk factor involved when you’re dealing with people you don’t know anything about. S&M, that — that has a stigma of some violence,” Brock said, according to the report. In the Greenberg Traurig interview with Brock, he said he believed gay people were more violent.
“In the past I have as a patrol officer handled calls where there are gay couples living in residence where one is mad at the other, and they slash clothes, furniture, anything they can do. They’re very violent. So, no. I definitely do think there was a high risk there. I think the only safe way — and I think you’re getting towards why I had everybody put on the ground,” Brock said.
When asked if Brock thought gay people are more violent than other citizens, Brock responded that they are.
“My experience, yes. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, when they’re — when they get mad, they get really mad. So …,” Brock said.
• Kelly Collier
• Craig Condon
• Stalone Davis
• Christopher Dowd
• Jeremy Edwards – fired for “lack of truthfulness” during investigations into Eagle raid. Edwards also stated in the investigation that “Seeing another man have sex with another man in the ass, I would classify that as very violent.”
• Herman Glass
• Robert Godwin
• Brandon Jackson had already been fired due to lying in an unrelated federal case before the investigations into the Eagle raid were released.
• Dimitri Jaques
• Melonie Mague
• Vincente Marcano
• Cayenne Mayes — fired for “lack of truthfulness” in investigations into Eagle raid.
• Timothy McClain
• James Menzoian had already been fired along with Brandon Jackson for lying in an unrelated case.
• Marlon O. Noble
• Darnell Perry
• William Porter
• Carlos Smith
• Stephanie Upton
• William Brian Walters
• Jared G. Watkins
The federal judge in the first lawsuit declared the raid unconstitutional, proving that the allegations made by the bar’s patrons were true. In addition to the two city investigations, the Atlanta Citizen Review Board found the accusations the men made against the APD as true more than a year ago. The board recommended punishments only to have Chief George Turner ignore them and instead wait for the Office of Professional Standards investigation and the investigation by high-profile law firm Greenberg Traurig, hired by the city, before taking action ondisciplining officers.