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Dept. of Justice cites Atlanta Eagle raid as example of anti-gay police harassment

In a federal court brief filed July 1, the Department of Justice cited the Atlanta Police Department's raid on the Atlanta Eagle, a gay bar, as evidence of ongoing discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The Department of Justice filed the brief in the ongoing legal case involving federal employee Karen Golinski. The brief argues that the federal court should not dismiss her claim that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. Golinski is suing the government for equal access to health benefits for her wife in a legal battle that has spanned some two years.

The brief, filed on behalf of the Office of Personnel Management and other defendants in the case, begins by saying "Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, 1 U.S.C. Section 7 ('DOMA'), unconstitutionally discriminates."

Earlier this year, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the DOJ would no longer defend DOMA in court over the constitutionality of Section 3 in several cases challenging the law.

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Eagle attorney Dan Grossman issues executive summary of investigation into gay bar raid

dan grossman executive summar of eagle investigation

Dan Grossman served as lead attorney in the federal civil lawsuit filed by patrons of the Atlanta Eagle who were in the gay bar during the 2009 raid by the Atlanta Police Department. The lawsuit ended with a $1.025 million settlement from the city and a court mandate that the city conduct investigations into the botched raid and make public the results. Today Grossman issued his own executive summary of the findings of the massive report issued by law firm Greenberg Traurig Tuesday.

Here it is in its entirety and can also be found here.

Highlights of the Atlanta Eagle Raid Report by Greenberg Traurig by Daniel J. Grossman, Esq.

The Greenberg Traurig report confirmed widespread lying by officers both under oath (in court testimony and sworn statements) and in statements to the Atlanta Citizen Review Board and others. The report identified ten individual officers who violated the APD regulation regarding truthfulness (GT report, see chart on p. 302), for which the disciplinary sanction is dismissal.

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Atlanta Citizen Review Board found similar illegal conduct in Eagle raid a year ago

The independent investigation into the Atlanta Eagle raid by high-profile law firm Greenberg Traurig and the Atlanta Police Department’s own internal affairs investigations revealed a slew of illegal activities by officers involved in the raid. But it should be noted that many of these same infractions were disclosed a year ago — by the Atlanta Citizens Review Board.

In January, the ACRB released its full investigation into the raid on the gay bar, also finding evidence that officers continually lied during the investigation, violated the Fourth Amendment rights of the patrons in the bar the night it was raided, as well as used anti-gay slurs toward patrons. The ACRB began its investigations in the Eagle raid last June, finding the police officers guilty of many illegal activities, including illegal search and seizures and false arrests.

“The findings and recommendations made by the law firm of Greenberg Traurig are very similar, not identical, to the findings made by the ACRB,” said Cristina Beamud, executive director of the ACRB.

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Atlanta police LGBT Advisory group to meet July 13 to discuss Eagle investigations

The LGBT Advisory group for the Atlanta Police Department will hold a meeting July 13 to discuss the investigations of the Eagle raid.

The city released the APD's Office of Professional Standards investigation into the botched raid late Tuesday and an independent investigation by prestigious law firm Greenberg Traurig was also released late Tuesday.'

You can read about some of the findings in the investigations here, including links to the full reports.

Overall, the reports clearly state police officers violated numerous procedures during the raid, including violating the patrons' Fourth Amendment rights. The investigations also found there to be specific instances of anti-gay discrimination during the raid of the gay bar.

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Atlanta Eagle investigation reports still not completed?

It’s June 28 — the day after two federally court-mandated investigations into the Atlanta Police raid of the Atlanta Eagle were due.

The city hired prestigious law firm Greenberg Traurig to conduct an independent investigation of the raid, headed up by Joe Whitley, a former U.S. Attorney.

Dan Grossman, lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the Eagle lawsuit against the city, said he has been in close contact with Whitley and believes the firm is in compliance.

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Atlanta ‘scrambles’ to finish investigation of Eagle raid

The City of Atlanta is apparently rushing to finish an investigation that’s been open for two years into the police raid of the Atlanta Eagle that happened in September 2009.

Patrons and employees who were in the gay bar the night it was raided on Sept. 10, 2009, filed complaints in the days following the raid with the Atlanta Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards. That OPS investigation remains open.

When the city settled for more than $1 million in December with plaintiffs who sued because they said their constitutional rights were violated, part of the settlement agreement included a specific clause that the city had 180 days to complete an investigation into the raid.

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Atlanta Eagle plaintiffs to receive checks Thursday from city settlement

The plaintiffs in the Atlanta Eagle lawsuit will be picking up their checks on Thursday.

The $1.025 million settlement the city entered into with the plaintiffs — patrons of the bar the night it was raided by the Atlanta Police Department — was entered into an escrow account of Lambda Legal, an LGBT legal advocacy organization. Lambda Legal assisted in the lawsuit with lead attorney Dan Grossman and the Southern Center for Human Rights.

Johnnie Curran, one of the plaintiffs, confirmed he received an email telling him the checks were available for pick up at the Atlanta Lambda Legal office on Thursday. He did not disclose the amount he received, but did say the average amount for the plaintiffs was approximately $10,000. There were 26 individual plaintiffs as well as two companies that were part of the federal civil lawsuit.

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Two officers from Atlanta Eagle raid in trouble again; complaints allege groping, body search

Three Atlanta police officers are under investigation and will likely face disciplinary action after allegedly conducting a body cavity search on one man and groping another in the street during a traffic stop. Two of the officers are members of the Atlanta Police Department's Red Dog Unit and were part of the September 2009 raid on the Atlanta Eagle, a gay bar on Ponce de Leon Avenue.

The Atlanta Police Department released a statement that an internal investigation, which is now nearing conclusion, showed "inappropriate" behavior by some officers and Chief George Turner plans quick discipline "up to, and including, dismissal."

WSB-TV reporter Eric Phillips broke the story Jan. 27. 

The two men alleged they were pulled over by three Red Dog Unit officers, forced from their car at gunpoint and then made to pull down their pants.

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Red Dog Unit officers involved in Atlanta Eagle raid under investigation

Three Atlanta Police Red Dog officers are being investigated for allegedly conducting a body cavity search on one man and groping of another during a traffic stop, WSB TV is reporting.

Two of the officers are members of the Red Dog Unit and were part of the raid on the Atlanta Eagle raid, a gay bar on Ponce de Leon Avenue, WSB also reported.

WSB reporter Eric Phillips reported during the 11 p.m. news that two men alleged they were pulled over by three Red Dog Unit officers, forced from their car at gunpoint and then made to pull down their pants.

"Who wants another man touching their... any parts of them ...without justice,"  Brian Kidd, one of the alleged victims, told WSB. His friend was made to undergo a body cavity search while standing in the middle of the road, Phillips reported. The incident occurred in June.

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Town hall forum to discuss Atlanta Eagle raid settlement set for Dec. 20

A town hall meeting to discuss the Atlanta Eagle’s settlement with the city of Atlanta in the federal lawsuit following the city’s illegal police raid on the gay bar last year is set for Monday, Dec. 20.

Speaking at the forum will be Dan Grossman, lead attorney for the plaintiffs; Beth Littrell, attorney for Lambda Legal; and Gerry Weber, attorney for the Southern Center for Human Rights. Lambda Legal and SCHR also represented the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

There will also be a representative from Building Locally to Organize Community Safety (BLOCS) at the forum.