Supervisor of botched Eagle raid not demoted before retirement

Atlanta Police Major Debra Williams, who was the supervisor of the Red Dog Unit and the Vice Unit the night of the botched raid on the Atlanta Eagle, retired as a major and not a lieutenant.

The APD issued a press release June 30 stating she was demoted from major to lieutenant after two scathing investigations of the raid on the Midtown gay bar were released on June 28.

On July 7, the GA Voice reported Williams retired from the APD.

But Williams’ demotion had not gone into effect when she retired, according to APD spokesperson Carlos Campos.

“Debra Williams’ demotion to lieutenant was to be effective on Thursday, July 7th. On Wednesday, July 6th, Williams chose to retire. Her rank at the time of retirement was major,” he said in an email.

Williams was on the force for 27 years.

In an interview July 5, Mayor Kasim Reed cited Williams’ “demotion” as proof that the APD was taking the investigation results seriously.

“That is a severe demotion and has not been customary in the city of Atlanta. We are taking swift action. We are going to do more. It is a beginning, not an ending,” Reed told the GA Voice.

Glen Paul Freedman, chair of the APD’s LGBT Advisory group, questioned the motives behind Williams being able to retire before her demotion went into effect.

“If you demote her, demote her that day. She has the right to retire but she should have retired as a lieutenant. It sounded like, in my opinion, she was advised she was going to be demoted,” he said.

By knowing the impending punishment, Williams was knowingly allowed to retire without being punished for her involvement in the Eagle raid and was able to “get off scott free,” Freedman added.

“Why is someone allowed to retire at a higher rank when they’re about to be demoted?” he said.

The LGBT Advisory group meets July 13 to discuss the recently released investigations into the Eagle raid. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Saint Mark United Methodist Church, 781 Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30308.

Eagle attorney Dan Grossman will be attending to discuss the investigations and the police LGBT liaisons will also be attending.