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Former Eagle bartender sues city of Atlanta over botched police raid

A former Atlanta Eagle bartender is suing the city of Atlanta and four individual Atlanta police officers in federal court saying his constitutional rights were violated.

Chris Lopez was a bartender at the gay Midtown bar the night of Sept. 10, 2009, when the APD's Vice Unit and the now disbanded Red Dog Unit raided it. He alleges in his lawsuit filed Sept. 9 — before the two-year statute of limitations expired — that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated when he was arrested and then put on trial in Atlanta Municipal Court. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia.

Individual officers named in the lawsuit are Willie Adams, John Brock, Kelly Collier and Brandon Jackson.

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Second Atlanta Eagle lawsuit to be filed against city

Patrons of the Atlanta Eagle the night the gay bar was raided on Sept. 10, 2009, and who were not part of the original federal civil lawsuit, plan to file suit later this week against the city of Atlanta and individual police officers involved in the raid.

The suit will be filed by Sept. 9 — before the second anniversary of the raid and the statute of limitations expires for people seeking claims against the city. People who were in the bar the night it was raided and not part of the first lawsuit are being asked to come forward to be part of the second lawsuit before Friday, Sept. 9.

“It is time for the City of Atlanta to put the Eagle matter to rest, but time and again the actions of the city show that city leaders just ‘do not get it.’ The Eagle raid victims should all be fairly compensated and reforms must be fully implemented,” said attorney Gerry Weber in a statement.

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LGBT forum with Atlanta mayor, police chief rescheduled for November

Nov. 1 is the new date for a town hall forum hosted by the Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory Board with Mayor Kasim Reed and Atlanta Police Chief George Turner. The meeting will take place from 7-8:30 p.m. at Saint Mark United Methodist Church.

Originally scheduled for Sept. 28, the meeting was moved after leaders of Congregation Bet Haverim, Atlanta's gay-founded Reconstructionist synagogue, objected that it conflicted with the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, which begins that night.

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Atlanta Police LGBT board to reschedule forum with mayor; board member resigns

The Sept. 28 town hall forum hosted by the Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory Board with Mayor Kasim Reed and Atlanta Police Chief George Turner will be rescheduled to a later date in October. A specific date is expected to be decided this week.

Glen Paul Freedman, chair of the advisory board, said today the date will be after Atlanta Pride, set for Oct. 8-9, and will not be scheduled to interfere with the AIDS Walk on Sunday, Oct. 16.

The current date of Sept. 28 falls on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. An open letter to the community from gay-led Congregation Bet Haverim urged the board to change the date.

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Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory Board requests answers from mayor, police chief about Eagle raid

The Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory Board sent a letter to Mayor Kasim Reed and Police Chief George Turner on Aug. 25 asking for answers to questions raised at its Monday meeting and as follow up to the private meetings the citizen board had with the mayor and chief last month.

The Monday meeting held at Outwrite became quite heated at times as those attending wondered why the board agreed to meet in closed door sessions with the mayor and police chief to discuss, among other things, the fallout of the Eagle raid in 2009. Questions were also raised about the police department following the mandates secured in the city's $1.025 million settlement with the Eagle plaintiffs.

A community town hall meeting is set for Sept. 28 at St. Mark United Methodist Church, but the gay-led Congregation Bet Haverim is asking the date be moved to October because Sept. 28 falls on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.

The letter reads from the Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory Board reads:

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Gay-led Atlanta synagogue wants LGBT town hall slated for Jewish holiday to be rescheduled

Congregation Bet Haverim, Atlanta's gay-founded Reconstructionist synagogue, released an open letter today expressing disappointment that an LGBT town hall forum with Mayor Kasim Reed is scheduled for Sept. 28, the start of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

The letter, signed by Congregation Bet Haverim President Jeri L. Kagel and Rabbi Joshua Lesser, asks that the "problematic" meeting date be rescheduled out of "communal respect." It is addressed to the Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory Committee and copied to the mayor's office.

The public forum is a project of the mayor and the advisory board, a citizen panel founded in the wake of the botched 2009 police raid on the Atlanta Eagle gay bar.

"There are Rosh Hashanah services in synagogues of all denominations across Atlanta and it is one of the few times during the year when Jews of all degrees of observance attend services," the letter stated. "If the meeting remains on this date our congregants, other LGBT Jews and straight allies, will not have the opportunity to hear two of our city’s leaders address important issues about police interaction within the LGBT community."

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Atlanta Police LGBT Board accused of violating state’s Open Meetings Act

The Atlanta Police Department's LGBT Advisory Board met in private sessions with Mayor Kasim Reed and Chief George Turner last month and two board members are angry, saying the board violated the state Open Meetings Act.

Betty Couvertier and Tracee McDaniel, who were appointed in 2010 to the LGBT Advisory Board by the mayor after being selected to serve by LGBT Police liaison Patricia Powell, voiced their concerns about the closed-door meetings at Monday's public meeting of the board held at Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse.

The board met with the mayor on July 26 at his office in City Hall and with Chief Turner on July 29.

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Still mad about the Eagle raid? Activists want you at tonight’s LGBT Police Advisory Board meeting

An activist angry with how the city has handled the aftermath of the unconstitutional Atlanta Eagle raid urges the bar's patrons and supporters to attend the Atlanta Police Department LGBT Advisory Board meeting tonight to show “strength in numbers.”

Laura Gentle is a straight ally who helped organize one of the first rallies to support the Eagle, days after the Atlanta Police Department raided the gay Midtown bar on Sept. 10, 2009. Gentle is using Facebook to urge more people to attend the meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse.

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Date for LGBT town hall meeting with mayor, police chief falls on Jewish holiday

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the time for the town hall forum as from 7:15-8 p.m.

A town hall meeting with the LGBT communities, Mayor Kasim Reed and Atlanta Police Chief George Turner is set for Sept. 28 at Saint Mark United Methodist Church.

The town hall is open to the public and is scheduled from 7-8:15 p.m.

The date, however, falls on the evening of the start of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and also on the night of a special pre-event for Out on Film, Atlanta's LGBT film festival.

Philip Rafshoon is a member of the LGBT Police Advisory Board, which is organizing the town hall forum to discuss issues including how the city and police department continue to handle the fallout of the botched Atlanta Eagle raid. Rafshoon said he was disappointed with the date selected.