The Atlanta City Council today approved a settlement of $250,000 to an HIV positive man who sued the city when he was allegedly denied a job with the city's police department because of his HIV status.
Richard Roe, the plaintiff's pseudonym used throughout the lawsuit, first applied to the Atlanta Police Department in early 2006, but was denied employment due to his HIV status, his lawsuit claimed. According to Lambda Legal, who represented Roe: "During a pre-employment medical exam, the APD learned that Roe was HIV-positive, and the doctor informed Roe that his HIV status disqualified him from becoming a police officer with the APD."
The check for the full amount was made to Richard Roe and The Koval Firm, owned by Steve Koval, a gay attorney who has represented Roe from the beginning before getting assistance from Lamba Legal.
Roe sued the city when he wasn't hired. City lawyers first maintained that Atlanta did not have a policy against hiring police officers with HIV, then later claimed that his HIV status presented a "direct threat" to others.
"Actions speak louder than words," said Koval in a previous statement.
Five police officers accused of lying or destroying evidence related to the botched Atlanta Eagle gay bar raid avoided being fired because the allegations against them were based only on circumstantial evidence, according to Atlanta Police Chief George Turner.
Turner sat down with the Atlanta Police Department’s LGBT Advisory Board on July 27, at his office at Public Safety Headquarters. With the chief were City Attorney Cathy Hampton, senior assistant city attorney Amber Robinson, APD spokesperson Carlos Campos, Atlanta Chief Operating Officer Peter Aman, LGBT liaisons Officers Brian Sharp and Patricia Powell, Major Erica Shields and Deputy Chief Renee Propes, who is openly gay.
LGBT advisory board members present were Glen Paul Freedman, Tracy Elliott, Philip Rafshoon, Ebonee Bradford-Barnes, Josh Noblitt, Molly Simmons and Terence McPhaul. Absent from the meeting were board members Betty Couvertier and Tracee McDaniel.
Atlanta Police Chief George Turner has now suspended Investigator Bennie Bridges without pay after he was arrested in Cobb County for DUI and possession of marijuana.
Bridges was arrested Feb. 3 and put on administrative leave — with pay — while an internal investigation was conducted.
A press release from the APD now says Bridges has been suspended without pay after meeting with Turner today and while the Office of Professional Standards continues to investigate the matter.