Atlanta police say an officer with the Georgia Pardons & Parole Board was found severely beaten in Central Park in Midtown on Saturday and his car was found at the Atlanta Eagle, a gay bar located on Ponce de Leon Avenue.
The victim is identified as George B. Walker, 31, of Marietta. He works as a parole officer.
Carlos Campos, public affairs manager for the APD, said the APD 911 center received a call at about 6 a.m. on Saturday that a man who appeared to have been assaulted was on the ground in Central Park, located at 400 Merritt Ave.
“We got the call and our units responded and Grady EMS were already on the scene loading him into the ambulance,” he said. “He appeared to have been beaten.”
Injuries included facial injuries, Campos said.
Walker, the victim, was put into a medically induced coma, Campos said, and remains in a coma.
Based on interviews with other people, APD investigators were able to locate Walker’s vehicle at the Atlanta Eagle, Campos said.
“We went to the bar [last night] and impounded it for safekeeping,” Campos said.
Richard Ramey, co-owner of the Atlanta Eagle, said there were several APD units in the bar’s parking lot about 11 p.m. Tuesday. Some people thought the bar may have been raided again as it was last September, but that is not the case, Ramey stressed.
“Police were there to get the vehicle [a black SUV]. They did not enter our establishment and we cooperated with the officers,” he said.
Ramey said a bartender remembers the black SUV pulling into the Atlanta Eagle parking lot on Friday evening because it was one of the first cars to arrive, but no one remembers details of the person driving it. Ramey said Atlanta Eagle staff looked through the bar’s credit card receipts to see if the parole officer may have purchased drinks at the bar, but none were found.
Ramey also said that the parole officer was not beaten at the bar located on Ponce de Leon Avenue.
“This did not take place at the Atlanta Eagle or in the vicinity of the Atlanta Eagle,” he said. “Nothing happened at the Eagle — that’s just where his car was found.”
Campos said investigators are still trying to piece together what happened to Walker.
“Because he can’t communicate, we can’t retrace his steps,” Campos said. “We are hopeful we will identify a suspect soon.
“At this time we are not classifying this as a bias crime although we have notified the GLBT liaison [Patricia Powell] due to the connection to the Eagle,” Campos added.
Walker’s sexual orientation is unknown, Campos said, but added that Walker is married.
“Right now we don’t have evidence this was motivated by sexual orientation. Our investigators are pursuing every lead to determine what transpired,” he said. “We need to talk to him.”
Atlanta Eagle personnel were not immediately suspicious that a vehicle was parked in the bar’s lot for several days because the bar shares parking with people living in the neighborhood when the bar is not open, Ramey said.