Controversy over police raid of Atlanta Eagle spanned more than a year. Here is a complete timeline of events, from the raid to the settlement.
Former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, who as a senator from Georgia helped lead the fight for the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, now says he agrees the policy can be repealed.
"Society has changed, and the military has changed," Nunn told the Associated Press this week.
The Senate Armed Services Committee held hearings on repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" last week, after the Pentagon released a report that found a large majority of military service members do not believe openly gay troops would have a negative impact.
A student at Whitewater High School in Fayette County, Ga., has been arrested on two charges of making terroristic threats after he said he would bring a gun to school to confront bullies who targeted him for allegedly being gay.
"We believe these threats were apparently made in response to a series of taunts by several other students," Fayette County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Brent Rowan told WSB Radio.
According to WSB, the student, who is 16, was apparently being teased for his sexual orientation. He has been suspended for 10 days. It is unclear what punishment, if any, the alleged bullies face at school, but they are not facing any criminal charges.
The owners of the Atlanta Eagle said Wednesday they are pleased with Mayor Kasim Reed's apology to the plaintiffs who sued the city in the wake of the controversial raid by the Atlanta Police Department on the gay bar last year.
"For the mayor to say the things he said really makes me feel, on an individual basis, makes me feel very good. The mayor's [apology] was icing on the cake," said Richard Ramey, co-owner of the gay bar, in an interview with the GA Voice.
Ramey and Robby Kelley also stressed the lawsuit filed against the city was never simply a "gay case."
"If the city really goes forward with the changes [made as part of the settlement agreement] it will be good for every citizen," Ramey said while seated in his bar with Kelley.
Patrons of the Atlanta Eagle who were searched and detained when police raided the gay bar last September finally got their longed-for apology late Wednesday, when Mayor Kasim Reed held a press conference to speak out on a settlement agreement reached between the city and plaintiffs in a federal civil rights lawsuit over the raid.
"I believe that what occurred that evening should not have happened and should not happen again," Reed said. "As mayor of the city of Atlanta, I feel pain for anyone mistreated in our city and apologize to each plaintiff in the Calhoun case."
Dan Grossman, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, has long said that the lawsuit, which will cost the city some $1.025 million in payments, could have been avoided if the city apologized to the plaintiffs and agreed to change police policies.
The lead attorney and plaintiffs who sued the city of Atlanta over the botched 2009 raid of the Atlanta Eagle, a gay bar, praised the settlement agreement signed by a federal judge today. But they continued to stress that their lawsuit should not have been necessary to force Atlanta police to change unconstitutional policies.
"This is a wonderful change for the city of Atlanta — to get the Atlanta Police Department to follow the law," lead attorney Dan Grossman said in an interview this afternoon. "It's really a shame it took a lawsuit to make the APD follow the law."
Richard Ramey, co-owner of the Atlanta Eagle, echoed Grossman's sentiments.
"I feel vindicated and relieved. I feel that everyone in the city, from the mayor to the city council, realized something went wrong," he said.
The Atlanta Police Department is required to make specific changes and conclude an investigation into the officers involved in last year’s botched Atlanta Eagle raid within 180 days as as ordered by Judge Timothy Batten in the settlement of the Atlanta Eagle lawsuit.
According to court documents: “The City of Atlanta agrees permanently to revoke or amend all Atlanta Police Department SOPs, Command Memoranda, and any other policies, including but not limited to SOP.3020 § 4.3.1(2) (regarding warrantless searches), SOP.3030 (regarding arrests), and SOP.3065 (regarding investigatory detentions and frisks without reasonable articulable suspicion), which contain provisions that are inconsistent with the following constitutional requirements.”
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Batten has signed the settlement agreement between the city of Atlanta and plaintiffs of the Atlanta Eagle today, according to his clerk, making the more than $1 million settlement official and concluding the lawsuit over the botched gay bar raid.
The Atlanta City Council voted 14-0 on Monday to approve the settlement that included the $1.025 million monetary payout to the plaintiffs as well as ordering the Atlanta Police Department "to take certain actions in regard to their standard operating procedures" in the wake of the raid and lawsuit.
The settlement resolution includes $1.025 million to go into an escrow account with Lambda Legal, one of two nonprofit legal groups that joined attorney Dan Grossman in representing the Eagle plaintiffs. The Southern Center for Human Rights also joined the case. Patrons of the Atlanta Eagle filed the federal lawsuit against the city and dozens of Atlanta Police Department officers in November 2009 following the botched raid of the gay bar on the night of Sept. 10, 2009.
Geoff Calhoun held his face in his hands during the Atlanta City Council meeting on Dec. 6, visibly nervous as he leaned forward in his chair in the council’s chamber at City Hall.
Calhoun was a patron of the Atlanta Eagle, a gay leather bar, on Sept. 10, 2009, the night it was raided by undercover Atlanta Police Department officers and the APD’s Red Dog Unit.
As a plaintiff in the federal civil rights lawsuit filed by patrons who were detained and searched during the raid, Calhoun was waiting anxiously to see if the council would vote to approve a settlement the city reached with the plaintiffs on Dec. 3.
SAN FRANCISCO — Famed attorney Ted Olson told a 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel Dec. 6 that the reason proponents of Proposition 8 have proffered to justify their ban on same-sex marriage is “nonsense.”
That reason, said Olson, reading from a page in the argument brief filed by attorneys for the Yes on 8 coalition, which promoted passage of California’s ban on same-sex marriage, was that same-sex marriage “will make children prematurely preoccupied with issues of sexuality.”
“If believed,” said Olson, “that would justify the banning of comic books, television, video games, and even conversations between children.”
The Atlanta City Council voted unanimously this afternoon to approve a $1.025 million settlement in a federal lawsuit over the Atlanta Police Department's 2009 raid on the Atlanta Eagle, a gay bar on Ponce de Leon Avenue.
The settlement must now go back to the federal judge for final approval. All parties in the case are under a gag order until the settlement is finalized.
Before the vote, the council met in closed executive session to discuss the proposed settlement, which was reached Friday between city attorneys and attorneys for patrons and employees of the Eagle.
The settlement resolution includes $1.025 million to go into an escrow account with Lambda Legal, one of two nonprofit legal groups that joined attorney Dan Grossman in representing the Eagle plaintiffs. The Southern Center for Human Rights also joined the case.