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Atlanta police investigate photo with gay slur found on officer’s desk

Atlanta Police officials are calling a photo emailed to a local TV station of a framed picture of "CHiPS" star Erik Estrada with the phrase "You're a homo" written on the picture a "sick joke" possibly meant to embarrass the APD.

Someone within the police department apparently emailed to Fox 5 a photo of the framed picture sitting on a police officer’s desk.

"We became aware of the photo [on Wednesday] from Morse Diggs of Fox 5 who sent the picture to Carlos [Campos, APD spokesperson]," said Deputy Chief Renee Propes, who is openly gay.

"The officer whose desk it is on works for me," she said. "It was sitting on a supervisor's desk in the motors [motorcycle] unit."

Two sergeants are assigned to this office, Propes explained, and an Office of Professional Standards investigation has been opened.

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[Updated] Fight at Blake’s results in arrests

A fight at popular Midtown gay bar Blake's on the Park Friday night resulted in two arrests after an off-duty police officer was assaulted by a patron, according to police.

A preliminary police report released today by APD spokesperson Carlos Campos states:

Sometime Friday evening (or possibly early morning hours on Saturday), two males were asked by the manager to leave the establishment (Blake's). They refused. The manager called for the off-duty officer working at Blake's, who advised one of the individuals they would have to leave. One of the males refused and threw his drink in the officer's face and then punched him in the face.

"At some point, a call for assistance went out over the radio and several Zone 5 officers and a supervisor arrived on scene. One of the individuals damaged a third person's vehicle in the parking lot and was charged with Criminal Damage to Property. The first individual that punched the off-duty officer was charged initially with Felony Obstruction. Our LGBT Liaison officers have been notified of the incident.

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Federal judge rules Atlanta Eagle lawsuit to be tried in Fulton Superior Court

An Atlanta Eagle lawsuit against the city will be tried in Fulton County Superior Court after a federal judge ruled against the city of Atlanta's motion to move the case to federal court.

First reported by Jim Burress at WABE, Senior U.S. District Judge Robert Vining Jr. ruled that the city's amended motion to remand the case to federal court was an "untimely attempt to cure a procedural defect" and "concludes that the original notice of removal was deficient."

Vining also said the city's "tortured interpretation" of the motion to remand to federal court would render a statute involving procedure for removal was "meaningless, which this court is unwilling to do."

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NPR’s StoryCorps wants to record stories of Atlanta Eagle raid

StoryCorp, one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, is seeking those involved in the raid on the Atlanta Eagle to share their stories.

WABE 90.1 FM reporter Jim Burress posted to Facebook a message asking people interested in sharing their stories of the raid and the fallout to have them preserved in the Library of Congress. WABE is the local NPR affiliate.

"It doesn’t have to be just about what happened that night — it can be about how the night changed you, what the legal victory means to you, what role the raid will play in Atlanta’s LGBT history, etc.," Burress writes in a post on the Eagle Atlanta Raid Facebook page. 
If interested, send an email to jburress@wabe.org or call 678-686-0374.

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Second fired Eagle raid officer denied getting job back

Fired Eagle raid officer will not get his job back

A former Atlanta Police Red Dog officer who was a supervisor during the unconstitutional 2009 raid on the Atlanta Eagle was denied getting his job back by the city's Civil Service Board, reports WABE.

Sgt. Willie Adams, a nearly 20-year veteran on the force before he was fired for "lack of truthfulness," said in his Oct. 20 hearing before the Civil Service Board he believed there was a search warrant for the raid. There was not.

He was fired for saying he did not witness patrons of the bar being patted down, that he participated as a supervisor in detaining the patrons, which went against APD standard operating procedures, and that he lied when he said he told officers to allow the patrons to sit up rather than remain lying down on the bar's floor, said Amber Robinson, city senior assistant attorney, during the Oct. 20 hearing.

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Fired Eagle raid officer will not get job back

The Atlanta Civil Service Review Board has ruled that former Atlanta Police officer Cayenne Mayes who was involved in the raid on the Atlanta Eagle will not get his job back. The ruling was confirmed today by the city's Human Resources Department.

Mayes, 34, a former member of the now disbanded APD's Red Dog Unit who was fired  in July, testified to the city's Civil Service Review Board last month that he did not intend to lie when he told the Atlanta Citizen Review Board in March 2010 he did not pat down or frisk any patrons in the gay Midtown bar when it was raided Sept. 10, 2009.

In May, however, during an APD Office of Professional Standards and the Greenberg Traurig investigation, Mayes admitted he did pat down at least three men during the raid. He was fired by APD Chief George Turner in July after the Greenberg Traurig and OPS reports were finished and made public, showing many officers violated the rights of the patrons in the Eagle as well as did not follow policies.

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Atlanta mayor ready to end ‘argument’ over Eagle raid

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed

Atlanta Mayor Kasim wants to hold a videotaped conference with attorneys representing patrons in the Atlanta Eagle the night of the 2009 gay bar raid "so we can stop having this argument" over whether the Atlanta Police Department has implemented changes required in the settlement of the federal lawsuit.

Reed made the pledge at a packed LGBT town hall forum Tuesday night organized to discuss the Eagle raid and other public safety issues. Tuesday's town hall forum was hosted by the Atlanta LGBT Police Advisory Board and included Reed and Chief George Turner fielding questions from the crowd of some 150 people.

While expected to center around Eagle raid and the fallout, the forum at St. Mark United Methodist Church hit on numerous topics including Occupy Atlanta, LGBT training of police officers, Reed's stance on gay marriage as well as LGBT homeless youth.

Eagle attorney Dan Grossman asked the mayor directly at last night's forum to meet with him to discuss constructive ways to end the ongoing fallout of the raid that continues to weigh heavy on many of patrons in the bar that night, as well as many Atlanta LGBT residents.

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Fired Atlanta Eagle raid officer pleads for job back

A former Atlanta Police Department officer fired for lying during investigations into the unconstitutional raid on the Atlanta Eagle made a plea to the city's Civil Service Board to get his job back.

Cayenne Mayes, 34, a former member of the now disbanded APD's Red Dog Unit who was fired  in July, testified to the city's Civil Service Review Board on Wednesday and said he did not intend to lie when he told the Atlanta Citizen Review Board in March 2010 he did not pat down or frisk any patrons in the gay Midtown bar when it was raided Sept. 10, 2009.

In May, however, during an APD Office of Professional Standards and the Greenberg Traurig investigation, Mayes admitted he did pat down at least three men during the raid. He was fired by APD Chief George Turner in July after the Greenberg Traurig and OPS reports were finished and made public, showing many officers violated the rights of the patrons in the Eagle as well as did not follow policies. As a result of the reports, six officers, including Mayes, were fired.

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Eagle raid police officers protest firings, suspensions to Civil Service Board

Atlanta Police Department officers fired or suspended due to their actions in the raid on the Atlanta Eagle two years ago plan to go before the city's Civil Service Board this week to appeal their punishments.

On Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 9 a.m., Sgt. Kelly Collier will go before the board to appeal his 20-day suspension received from Chief George Turner as punishment for his behavior during the raid on the gay Midtown bar. Angela Robertson of the city's Human Resources Department said the hearing will take place in Suite 2174 of Atlanta City Hall located at 68 Mitchell Street.

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[Update with comment from city] City of Atlanta denies wrongdoing in second Eagle lawsuit

Update from Reese McCranie, spokesperson for Mayor Kasim Reed:


"The new lawsuit claims that every named plaintiff was subjected to improper treatment, including persons the City cannot confirm were actually present at the Eagle during the time of the operation. At this preliminary stage of the lawsuit, the City has not had an opportunity to interview these new plaintiffs and confirm their presence, so the City had no choice but to deny those allegations at this point. Had these new plaintiffs joined in the original Calhoun lawsuit instead of waiting for the outcome of that case before coming forward, the City would have been able to confirm their presence and include them in the previous settlement."

 

The city of Atlanta denies police officers violated the constitutional rights of patrons when the Vice Unit and the now disbanded Red Dog Unit raided the gay Midtown bar the Atlanta Eagle two years ago. The denial comes in the form of a response to the second lawsuit filed over the botched raid bar on Sept. 10, 2009.

"City defendants assert that they took no action to deprive plaintiff's of any right, privilege, freedom or immunity secured by the Constitution" and the laws of Georgia and Atlanta, reads the response filed in U.S. District Court on Thursday, Oct. 6 — the day before Atlanta Pride kicks off.