Officer Dani Lee Harris returned to work at the Atlanta Police Department on Monday, but not in the position she would like.
The former LGBT liaison for the APD said she reported to duty in the ID division of the APD located on Donald Lee Howell Road and is now in charge of expunging records from computers after court cases are resolved and orders to do so are handed down.
“I’m glad to be at work, glad to be making a paycheck,” she said. She said the officers in her department welcomed her warmly.
Dear GA Voice,
I am writing in response to the article “The Atlanta Police Department names new LGBT liaison” by Dyana Bagby. As an individual who identifies as a transgendered pansexual queer, I was so excited to hear that the Atlanta Police Department was going to bring on a second person in the GLBT Liaison position.
However, I was extremely disappointed and discouraged to see the coverage of the situation that GA Voice provided for our community. The article on your website spent little time devoted to Officer Sharp and this encouraging step by the Atlanta Police Department. The story that should have been reported was overshadowed with the drama of Officer Harris.
After months of speculation of when a second LGBT liaison would be named, the Atlanta Police Department’s Chief George Turner and Mayor Kasim Reed today announced that Zone 2 Precinct Patrol Officer Brian Sharp would fill the second spot. The announcement comes just a week before the 40th annual Atlanta Pride that is expected to attract tens of thousands of people to the city and Piedmont Park.
Dani Lee Harris, who was once the Atlanta Police Department’s LGBT liaison but has been on medical and administrative leave since April, filed a complaint with the Atlanta Citizens Review Board alleging sexual discrimination and harassment from a civilian employee of the APD.
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.
Senior Patrol Officer Patricia Powell, the new LGBT liaison for the Atlanta Police Department, has stopped in at least one gay-owned business to introduce herself as part of her new duties.
“My initial thought [of Powell] is I’m impressed,” said Philip Rafshoon, owner of Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse, who said Powell dropped into his store about two weeks ago and also attended the Pearl Cleage reading on May 20.
Mayor Kasim Reed pledged earlier this year that Atlanta would have at least two fulltime LGBT police liaisons, but confusion remains as to whether Powell’s appointment truly fulfills that goal.
The image on this week’s cover — a cop offering up rainbow doughnuts — both symbolizes and satirizes the Atlanta Police Department’s efforts to get back in the good graces of the city’s LGBT communities.
Like most police departments, the APD has faced tensions with LGBT residents through the years. The appointment of a full-time LGBT liaison within the department in 2004 was intended to create a direct link between the two sides.
Complaint filed by Officer Dani Lee Harris against department
Officer Patricia Powell was recently assigned to be the second LGBT liaison for the Atlanta Police Department.