Chick-fil-A, APD HIV lawsuit settlement and more...
A man who was denied employment with the Atlanta Police Department because he is HIV positive will receive a $250,000 settlement from the city.
"We are pleased with this resolution and expect that the city of Atlanta will never let this happen again," said Scott Schoettes, HIV project director for Lambda Legal, the non-profit group that represented the anonymous plaintiff, identified in court records as "Richard Roe."
"People with HIV are working in law enforcement all across this country, and there is no reason their service should not be welcomed and encouraged by the Atlanta Police Department," Schoettes said in a press release announcing the settlement.
The settlement announcement today comes six months after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit sent the case back to the federal district court to resolve unaddressed issues.
With 50 surveillance cameras located throughout Atlantic Station’s 138-acre complex of residences and retail businesses, finding out exactly when and where a gay man said he was assaulted on the property is apparently no easy task.
Atlantic Station security personnel are still poring through “hours and hours” of video as part of its investigation into the alleged Aug. 4 attack on John Mark Parker, 50, as he was walking to the Fenuxe Fire Party in the former Fox Sports Grill.
“I know we are working closely with the Atlanta Police Department and working closely with them to go through hours and hours of footage,” said Elizabeth Hagin, spokesperson for Atlantic Station. “Everything we have so far has been turned over to APD.”
An unidentified woman claims that she was raped by two male dancers at Swinging Richards, the gay-popular strip club, on June 9 after a night of heavy alcohol consumption.
The Atlanta Police Department's report on the incident states that the woman began the evening at a friend's house, where they consumed several alcoholic beverages. The pair then went to Blake's on the Park, a gay bar on 10th Street, and found themselves at Swinging Richards later in the evening. The woman's identity is being withheld by police.
The story was first reported by Atlanta's ABC affiliate WSB.
The report goes on to state the woman purchased a lap dance from one of the two alleged rapists, who then took her to a V.I.P. room with her male friend. In the V.I.P. room, the report states that the two strippers “bent her over a table and had sex with her.”
Gay-favorite Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium — known better as Church — was vandalized over the weekend, according to a report filed by the Atlanta Police Department.
According to the police report, the Edgewood Avenue bar, where lesbian DJ Vicki Powell holds regular patio parties throughout the year, was broken into sometime around 5:20 a.m. Saturday morning. Some $3,000 worth of damage was done to the bar, including several broken windows, dozens of busted liquor bottles and drained beer taps.
APD spokesperson Carlos Campos declined to offer any information on the status of the investigation, other than to say it was ongoing, but did say that investigators did not see any indication of a bias crime.
Officer Kristin Knight made her first official public appearance as the Atlanta Police Department’s new LGBT liaison at the HRC Dinner May 5, but she has been out and open on the force since she began working on foot patrol seven years ago.
Knight, 30, said she came out to her family when she was 18 and moved to Atlanta to attend Clark Atlanta University from Milford, Conn., where she was born and raised.
“I came out when I was 18. It coincided with growing up and moving out, when I felt more comfortable saying who I was,” she said in an interview at Atlanta Public Safety Headquarters.
The reaction from her family when she told them?
Atlanta police do not believe sexual orientation played a role in the deaths of two men who were slain after attending Black Gay Pride in 2010.
“At this time and even throughout a year and a half investigation, I don’t have any indication that their personal life or lifestyle factored into it at all,” Detective Michael Willis said in an interview this afternoon.
Derrick Burden, 22, was arrested by the APD's Fugitive Unit on April 23 on a warrant for the homicides of both Samuel Blizzard, 21, a Georgia State University student from Spring Cove, Va., and Calvin Streater, 26, of Atlanta.
Atlanta police arrested a suspect this week in the killings of two men who attended 2010's Black Gay Pride.
The suspect, Derrick Burden, 22, was arrested by the APD's Fugitive Unit on April 23 on a warrant for the homicides of both Samuel Blizzard, 21, a Georgia State University student from Spring Cove, Va., and Calvin Streater, 26, of Atlanta. Police said they were found shot to death Sept. 5, 2010, inside a Richmond Circle apartment in southeast Atlanta.
A press release from the APD states a warrant for Burden was obtained April 13 charging him with two counts of murder. Police declined to comment about a possible motive.
Burden was taken to the Fulton County jail.
Officer Kristin Knight is replacing Patricia Powell as LGBT liaison for the Atlanta Police Department. Officer Brian Sharp also remains as an LGBT liaison.
“I’m looking forward to this wonderful and challenging opportunity to serve as a link between the LGBT community and the brave men and women of the Atlanta Police Department,” Knight said in a press release distributed by APD.
“As a proud member of both the gay community and the APD, I will take great pride and care in ensuring we continue our mutual respect and understanding," she said. "The LGBT liaisons are instrumental in helping foster those partnerships that are at the core of our mission here at APD.”
Documents released by the city of Atlanta show that the city paid out more than $1.2 million for an independent investigation into the botched raid of the Atlanta Eagle.
The documents show that high-profile law firm Greenberg Traurig charged the city more than $1.2 million for its three-month investigation and 349-page report of what happened at the Eagle the night of Sept. 10, 2009, when the gay bar was raided by the Atlanta Police Department after anonymous allegations about illegal sex and drug use at the bar. No drugs were found and nobody was arrested for illegal sex.
The investigation was mandated as part of a $1.025 million settlement the city reached in December 2010 with 26 patrons of the bar who said their constitutional rights were violated when they were detained for no reason, forced to the ground and had their IDs checked.
The Atlanta Eagle is ready to party.
In April, the gay bar in Midtown celebrates its 25th anniversary with a barbecue, balloon drop and giveaways, as well as the annual Leather Pride event.
The entire month of April is also booked with numerous other parties each weekend, including the celebration of Richard Ramey and Robby Kelley owning the bar for 15 years and MondoHomo’s popular WigOut party and fundraiser.