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Atlanta police to disband controversial Red Dog Unit

Atlanta Police Chief George Turner

The Atlanta Police Department will disband its controversial Red Dog Unit in 60 days, Chief George Turner announced at a press conference this morning.

The paramilitary-style unit had come under scrutiny for its supporting role in the 2009 police raid on the Atlanta Eagle, a gay bar on Ponce de Leon Avenue, and recent complaints from two men that Red Dog officers — including two who also took part in the Eagle raid — subjected them to a strip search on a public street in broad daylight.

The Red Dog unit will be replaced by a new elite unit that has yet to be named, Turner said. The new unit will focus chiefly on violent crime, whereas the primary focus of Red Dog was street-level drug activity. Current Red Dog officers will have to apply to be part of the new unit, and will have to meet stringent standards including physical fitness and being free from any sustained complaints against them, Turner said.

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CRB: Written reprimands, training for supervisors of illegal Eagle raid

The Atlanta Citizens Review Board recommended Wednesday that the Atlanta Police Department supervisors involved in the illegal raid on the gay bar the Atlanta Eagle receive written reprimands and as well as have training on the Fourth Amendment.

The more than 20 officers involved in the raid were recommended to have 3-day suspensions, written reprimands and training on the Fourth Amendment.

These recommendations seem to stray from the original intent of the board after they stated several times in prior meetings that written reprimands for the supervisors — as outlined by APD policies, which the board must abide by — were not tough enough punishment. The board members requested an in-depth investigation into the supervisors of the raid to potentially recommend stiffer penalties.