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Atlanta Eagle co-owner says bar is not $1 million richer after federal lawsuit settlement

Richard Ramey and Robby Kelley, owners of the Atlanta Eagle

A family came to the Atlanta Eagle gay bar on Ponce de Leon last night after apparently being sent there by a church seeking help to buy a car. A car would help the parents find a job in these tough economic times.

This incident has Richard Ramey and Robby Kelley, co-owners of the bar, distressed and they want people to know that while $1.025 million awarded in a lawsuit filed by patrons of the Atlanta Eagle the night it was illegally raided last September is a lot of money, the bar itself is only receiving $80,000 — enough to cover the losses the bar suffered in the past year. The federal judge in the case ordered the money be put into an escrow account of Lambda Legal.

"We took this family very seriously and it was very upsetting. We don't want people to think we have all this money and we're partying on the beach or something," Ramey said. "I don't want people to think the Eagle has a million dollars. We don't."

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Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed apologizes for Eagle gay bar raid

Patrons of the Atlanta Eagle who were searched and detained when police raided the gay bar last September finally got their longed-for apology late Wednesday, when Mayor Kasim Reed held a press conference to speak out on a settlement agreement reached between the city and plaintiffs in a federal civil rights lawsuit over the raid.

"I believe that what occurred that evening should not have happened and should not happen again," Reed said. "As mayor of the city of Atlanta, I feel pain for anyone mistreated in our city and apologize to each plaintiff in the Calhoun case."

Dan Grossman, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, has long said that the lawsuit, which will cost the city some $1.025 million in payments, could have been avoided if the city apologized to the plaintiffs and agreed to change police policies.

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Plaintiffs praise settlement in lawsuit over Atlanta Eagle gay bar raid

The lead attorney and plaintiffs who sued the city of Atlanta over the botched 2009 raid of the Atlanta Eagle, a gay bar, praised the settlement agreement signed by a federal judge today. But they continued to stress that their lawsuit should not have been necessary to force Atlanta police to change unconstitutional policies.

"This is a wonderful change for the city of Atlanta — to get the Atlanta Police Department to follow the law," lead attorney Dan Grossman said in an interview this afternoon. "It's really a shame it took a lawsuit to make the APD follow the law."

Richard Ramey, co-owner of the Atlanta Eagle, echoed Grossman's sentiments.

"I feel vindicated and relieved. I feel that everyone in the city, from the mayor to the city council, realized something went wrong," he said.

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Federal judge signs settlement agreement between city, Atlanta Eagle over gay bar raid

Attorney Dan Grossman and plaintiff Geoff Calhoun embrace after the Atlanta City Council voted to approve a settlement offer in the Atlanta Eagle raid case

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Batten has signed the settlement agreement between the city of Atlanta and plaintiffs of the Atlanta Eagle today, according to his clerk, making the more than $1 million settlement official and concluding the lawsuit over the botched gay bar raid.

The Atlanta City Council voted 14-0 on Monday to approve the settlement that included the $1.025 million monetary payout to the plaintiffs as well as ordering the Atlanta Police Department "to take certain actions in regard to their standard operating procedures" in the wake of the raid and lawsuit.

The settlement resolution includes $1.025 million to go into an escrow account with Lambda Legal, one of two nonprofit legal groups that joined attorney Dan Grossman in representing the Eagle plaintiffs. The Southern Center for Human Rights also joined the case. Patrons of the Atlanta Eagle filed the federal lawsuit against the city and dozens of Atlanta Police Department officers in November 2009 following the botched raid of the gay bar on the night of Sept. 10, 2009.

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City faces new complaint over Atlanta Eagle raid; investigations continue as lawsuit settles

Atlanta Eagle plaintiff Geoff Calhoun

Geoff Calhoun held his face in his hands during the Atlanta City Council meeting on Dec. 6, visibly nervous as he leaned forward in his chair in the council’s chamber at City Hall.

Calhoun was a patron of the Atlanta Eagle, a gay leather bar, on Sept. 10, 2009, the night it was raided by undercover Atlanta Police Department officers and the APD’s Red Dog Unit.

As a plaintiff in the federal civil rights lawsuit filed by patrons who were detained and searched during the raid, Calhoun was waiting anxiously to see if the council would vote to approve a settlement the city reached with the plaintiffs on Dec. 3.

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Breaking: Atlanta City Council approves settlement over Atlanta Eagle gay bar raid

Staff and patrons of the Atlanta Eagle mark the one-year anniversary of the botched police raid

The Atlanta City Council voted unanimously this afternoon to approve a $1.025 million settlement in a federal lawsuit over the Atlanta Police Department's 2009 raid on the Atlanta Eagle, a gay bar on Ponce de Leon Avenue.

The settlement must now go back to the federal judge for final approval. All parties in the case are under a gag order until the settlement is finalized.

Before the vote, the council met in closed executive session to discuss the proposed settlement, which was reached Friday between city attorneys and attorneys for patrons and employees of the Eagle.

The settlement resolution includes $1.025 million to go into an escrow account with Lambda Legal, one of two nonprofit legal groups that joined attorney Dan Grossman in representing the Eagle plaintiffs. The Southern Center for Human Rights also joined the case.

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Atlanta City Council deliberates $1.025 million settlement over Atlanta Eagle gay bar raid

The Atlanta City Council is in executive session now debating a settlement in the federal lawsuit filed over the Atlanta Police Department's 2009 raid on the Atlanta Eagle, a gay bar on Ponce de Leon Avenue.

The council has been in a closed executive session for about 20 minutes to discuss the proposed settlement, which was reached Friday between city attorneys and attorneys for patrons and employees of the Eagle. The council is expected to vote on the settlement after the executive session ends.

The settlement resolution being considered by the council includes a $1.025 million to go into an escrow account with Lambda Legal, one of two nonprofit legal groups that joined attorney Dan Grossman in representing the Eagle plaintiffs. The Southern Center for Human Rights also joined the case.

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City reaches settlement in Atlanta Eagle federal lawsuit

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed

The city of Atlanta has settled with the plaintiffs of the Atlanta Eagle, a gay bar raided by the Atlanta Police Department last year, but details of what exactly the settlement entails are not clear at this time.

Court documents filed late today state: "Settlement Conference held on 12/3/2010. The parties have reached an agreement to settle this case, which they believe is in the best interest of the City, its residents, and visitors. This agreement includes monetary compensation and reforms of the Atlanta Police Department. Until this agreement is approved by the Atlanta City Council and by the District Court, the parties and counsel shall not make further comment to the media about this case."

The next full meeting of the City Council is Dec. 6 at 1 p.m.

Patrons and employees of the Atlanta Eagle filed the federal lawsuit against the city and dozens of Atlanta Police Department officers in November 2009 following the botched raid of the gay bar on the night of Sept. 10, 2009.

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Settlement talks underway in lawsuit over Atlanta Eagle gay bar raid

Attorneys for the Atlanta Eagle and the city of Atlanta are in settlement talks today, according to court documents.

A federal judge ordered both sides of a lawsuit stemming from the Atlanta Police Department's botched 2009 raid on the gay bar to meet Nov. 22 in court to attempt to mediate the case.

Court documents show that both sides went into a settlement conference on Nov. 23 that was then continued until Dec. 1. After all day in apparent settlement talks on Dec. 1, the settlement conference was continued until today. On Wednesday, both sides in the case met from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to court documents.