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[Updated] Atlanta City Council settles third Eagle lawsuit for $330,000

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The Atlanta city council unanimously voted today to approve settling the third lawsuit stemming from the botched police raid on gay bar the Atlanta Eagle. The total of the settlement is $330,000.

Eagle attorney Dan Grossman told the GA Voice he was happy with the proposed settlement because his clients, whose constitutional rights were allegedly violated, "have now gotten justice."

As part of the settlement, Grossman also requested the Atlanta Police Department be mandated the police chief fire officers who destroy evidence in a civil case.

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Spring Preview: Local gay events bloom in spring

Spring events

Slurping on spaghetti and shouting out “Bingo!” as the numbers are called by Atlanta drag legend Diamond Lil at MondoHomo’s fundraiser is a “queerlicious” way to kick off the spring events season in LGBT Atlanta. Queer storytelling from elder activists as you daub your numbers adds icing to that cake.

“Each year, one of the fantastic things MondoHomo encompasses is community love. Our first event, Spaghetti + Bingo + Queer-Story, is dedicated to this exchange of queer lovin’,” says Jesse Morgan, MondoHomo organizer.

The event also brings together different generations of queer who break bread and share their stories.

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Harness your leather titleholder skills

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For those who have thought about competing in a leather contest but just weren't sure you had what it takes, now you have the opportunity to learn the ropes with a workshop on Jan. 28 at the Atlanta Eagle.

"The Future Titleholders Workshop" will be from 5-7 p.m. with producers, titleholders and representatives on hand to answer questions. Winners of these competitions tend to go on and try to beat others out at the international level.

Participating contests and representatives attending the workshop are:

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Will battle over the botched 2009 gay bar raid soon come to a close?

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed

Dan Grossman, attorney for patrons of the Atlanta Eagle the night the gay bar was raided, says courts are the worst place to solve problems. His nemesis in recent years, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, agrees wholeheartedly.

At a recent LGBT town hall forum to discuss the 2009 police raid, Grossman invited Reed to “do lunch.” The mayor accepted.

Although Reed himself has not reached out, as of press time, to Grossman to take him up on the offer for lunch or a face-to-face meeting, the city’s attorneys and Grossman were set to meet on Wednesday, Nov. 9, to discuss the second pending Eagle lawsuit as well as other issues.

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Podcast: Jim Swilley a year on

GA Voice editor Laura Douglas-Brown was featured on AM 1690 | The Voice of the Arts this week in a bi-weekly segment highlighting upcoming arts and entertainment events and LGBT community news featured in our upcoming issue.

In this week's segment, Laura discusses our cover story, an in-depth interview with out pastor Jim Swilley, examines our coverage of LGBT homelessness and the continued fallout from the 2009 raid on the Atlanta Eagle.

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Atlanta Eagle raid police officer withdraws appeal of suspension

Sgt. Kelly Collier drops appealAtlanta Police Department Sgt. Kelly Collier withdrew his appeal of his 20-day suspension received for his role in the unconstitutional 2009 raid on the Eagle, a gay bar.

Collier, who was with the APD Vice Unit at the time, appeared before the city's Civil Service Board today in an attempt to appeal his suspension and get back pay. But about an hour into the hearing, including a recess with his attorney and the city attorney, he agreed to withdraw the appeal. He now works with the police department’s Weed & Seed program.

Collier's attorney told the three-member Civil Service Board that Collier agreed to withdraw his appeal after she and Atlanta City Senior Assistant Attorney Amber Robinson had a private conversation outside the hearing during the recess. No specific reason was given why the appeal was withdrawn.

Asked why he withdrew his appeal, Collier would only say, "Just tired. Just tired."

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More lawsuits filed against city of Atlanta for raid on gay bar

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Attorney Dan Grossman

Ten patrons of the Atlanta Eagle are suing Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and 25 police officers in Fulton County Superior Court, arguing their rights were violated during the botched raid on the gay bar. They allege many of the same offenses in the original lawsuit filed in November 2009, shortly after the raid occurred on Sept. 10, 2009.

Eight other men in the bar the night it was raided settled with the city Sept. 8 for an undisclosed amount of money. The Atlanta City Council will have to approve the settlement and at that time the amount will be made public.

Represented by attorneys Dan Grossman and Gerry Weber, the plaintiffs in the new lawsuit accuse the officers of violating the Fourth and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution protecting people from illegal search and seizures. The lawsuit was filed Sept. 8.

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Atlanta police LGBT Advisory Board accused of being ‘puppets’ of mayor in heated meeting

Atlanta Police Department LGBT Advisory Board

A heated meeting of the Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory Board on Monday night included shouting, accusations of the board being “puppets” of the mayor and palpable anger with the board and city administration for not doing more to heal the pain in the community after the unconstitutional raid on the Atlanta Eagle nearly two years ago.

Geoff Calhoun (pictured, inset), was in the gay Midtown bar the night it was raided on Sept. 10, 2009, and was a plaintiff in the successful federal civil lawsuit against the city. Calhoun got into a shouting match with board member Ebonee Bradford-Barnes at the two-hour meeting held at Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse after he accused the board of becoming “puppets” of the mayor. Calhoun's statements came after much discussion about why the media was not allowed into the meetings the board had with Mayor Kasim Reed and Police Chief George Turner last month.

“I wonder if you could explain the rationale of the majority of the board denying the media into the meeting with the mayor. I'm trying to understand … is it because you thought you wouldn't be honest, the mayor wouldn't be honest?” Calhoun said.

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Still mad about the Eagle raid? Activists want you at tonight’s LGBT Police Advisory Board meeting

An activist angry with how the city has handled the aftermath of the unconstitutional Atlanta Eagle raid urges the bar's patrons and supporters to attend the Atlanta Police Department LGBT Advisory Board meeting tonight to show “strength in numbers.”

Laura Gentle is a straight ally who helped organize one of the first rallies to support the Eagle, days after the Atlanta Police Department raided the gay Midtown bar on Sept. 10, 2009. Gentle is using Facebook to urge more people to attend the meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse.

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Woof! Atlantans bring home international leather titles

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Alan Penrod, former Mr. Atlanta Eagle, and Pup Nitro return from San Francisco this week as International LeatherSIR and Leatherboy titleholders after sweeping the competition during the annual event July 28-30.

Representing the Southeast, LeatherSIR Alan and Leatherboy Pup Nitro (who was "collared" by Sir Alan after he moved to Atlanta about five years ago) beat out competitors from across the U.S. and Canada to take home the international titles.