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Atlanta police plan LGBT public safety seminars

The Atlanta Police Department continues to reach out to the LGBT community, as well as other segments of the city’s population, and ask for their help in solving all crimes. Crime Stoppers is the best way to give a tip to police to solve some of these crimes.

Senior Patrol Officer Powell, the police department’s LGBT liaison, will conduct a series of public safety seminars for LGBT people beginning Sept. 23 at Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse.

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Citizens board: Atlanta police falsely imprisoned Atlanta Eagle patrons

Atlanta Eagle staff and patrons rally one the one-year anniversary of the APD raid

The Atlanta Eagle patrons and employees were falsely imprisoned and had their civil rights violated when the gay bar was raided a year ago by the Atlanta Police Department, according to the Atlanta Citizen Review Board.

The ruling was made during the CRB’s meeting Sept. 9. The board also ruled that while it was likely abusive language, including racist epithets and anti-gay slurs, was used by the 24 officers during the raid, there was no way to prove exactly who said what. The 24 officers all denied using abusive language, according to a CRB investigator, despite the witnesses and the patrons in the bar who said the abusive language was used.

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Atlanta police respond to recent gay-related shootings

Atlanta Police Department Major Keith Meadows

In the span of two weeks, three people at least associated with the Atlanta LGBT community have been killed. And while the Atlanta Police Department stresses that gay people are not being targeted, there is a buzz from some asking, “What is going on? Are we safe?”

At press time, there were 62 homicides in Atlanta this year with three knowingly related to the LGBT population, said Major Keith Meadows, commander of the Atlanta Police Department’s Major Crimes Section, during an interview Monday at his office at Public Safety Headquarters on Peachtree Street.

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Musician marks anniversary of Eagle raid

Local musician Brian Snead put together a fantastic video collage set to an original song called ‘The Gayborhood’ to mark the one year anniversary of the Atlanta Police Department’s raid on the Atlanta Eagle.

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Slain Black Gay Pride organizer remembered as ‘selfless’

Friends and family gather to remember Durand Robinson

As Black Gay Pride swings into full force this weekend, the memory of Durand Robinson will be everywhere. The man who many described as selfless and giving will be honored at parties and events during the weekend, which attracts tens of thousands of people to Atlanta from across the nation and around the world.

Robinson, 50, was shot and killed in the early morning hours of Aug. 25 in southwest Atlanta. The Atlanta Police Department continues to seek suspects and a motive as of press time.

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Atlanta police to name second LGBT liaison

Former Atlanta police officer and LGBT liaison Dani Lee Harris

The Atlanta Police Department will soon name a second LGBT liaison, the department announced Aug. 31, after previously insisting that APD already had two LGBT liaisons.

In the release, which also announces the members of the new nine-member LGBT advisory board, Mayor Kasim Reed “pledged to have the Atlanta Police Department appoint a second GLBT liaison.” Having two LGBT liaisons on the APD was a campaign promise he made last year while running for mayor.

However, what is not said in the release is what will happen to Dani Lee Harris, the former LGBT liaison who went on medical leave in April after she said suffered gran mal seizures.

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Citizens Review Board: Police used abusive language in botched Atlanta Eagle bar raid

The Atlanta Citizens Review Board on Thursday sustained allegations of abusive, anti-gay and racist language used by Atlanta Police Department officers during the botched raid of the Atlanta Eagle last year. But the board chose not to make recommendations for disciplinary action until more investigations into complaints by employees and patrons were completed.

The Eagle is a gay bar located on Ponce de Leon Avenue. It was raided in September 2009.

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Teens arrested in anti-gay crime charged as adults

Rev. Josh Noblitt and APD LGBT liaison Patricia Powell

The six male teens charged with felony armed robbery in the bias crime against a gay pastor and his friend will be charged as adults and face a bond hearing Aug. 19.

The teens, ages 13 through 19, have been indicted for felony armed robbery and were arraigned Aug. 2 in Fulton Superior Court when the bond hearing was set.

Those charged are Sam Johnson, 17; Benjamin Johnson, 16; and Daequan Lewis, 15, who are all listed as living at the same residence in Stone Mountain. Also charged is Jarvis Johnson, 19, of Parkway Drive in Atlanta. Sam Johnson was identified by APD as the gunman. Atlanta Police reports identified Jamal Bryant, 13, and Tyrone Smith, 16, as two other suspects who are also charged as adults.

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Citizens Review Board weighs Atlanta Eagle cases

Citizens Review Board Chair Joy Morrissey

The Atlanta Citizens Review Board will discuss the cases of Atlanta Eagle co-owner Robby Kelley and doorman Ernest Buehl at its July 8 meeting. The two men allege that the Atlanta Police Department, including members of the notorious Red Dog Unit, used abusive language toward them during the Sept. 10 raid on the gay bar.

The CRB took up its first of a total of 14 Atlanta Eagle complaints on June 10 when it upheld manager David Shepherd’s complaint that he was falsely arrested during the raid. The board also recommended Officer B.E. Bridges be issued a written reprimand to go into his personnel file and Officer John Brock be punished with a three-day suspension for their roles in Shepherd’s arrest. Atlanta Interim Police Chief George Turner has 30 days to respond to the CRB recommendations.

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Screen on the Green gay audience target of melee?

Dreamgirls will show at Screen on the Green next week

The same day the Atlanta police chief finalists met in a town hall forum, the popular “Screen on the Green” movie showing in Piedmont Park ended abruptly after several fights broke out and there were unconfirmed reports of gunfire.

Jesse Rhodes, who is openly gay, said what happened at Screen on the Green on June 3 was an “insult” to the people of Midtown, including its gay residents. He lives at Post Parkside and walked to the park with a group of gay friends. While the fights and rowdy behavior broke out around them as they tried to watch “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” he and his gay friends felt very vulnerable, he said.

“We felt like sitting ducks,” he said. “They were definitely targeting gay people. One of my good friends, who is gay and works at Swinging Richards, got jumped by five people and beat up.”

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Atlanta Police chief finalists meet in town hall forum

Candidates for the Atlanta Police Chief position

At the recent town hall forum to let the public meet the three finalists to be the next Atlanta police chief, Mayor Kasim Reed acknowledged that many believe there has been a breach of confidence between the city’s residents and the police department.

“Tonight we begin repairing that breach,” Reed said during opening remarks on June 3 at the Atlanta Civic Center.

The three candidates are interim Chief George Turner; Dr. Cedric Alexander, head of the Transportation Security Administration at the Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas International Airport; and Robert White, the Louisville, Kentucky Metro police chief.