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Atlanta LGBT Police Advisory Board meets Aug. 22 at Outwrite

 

The Atlanta LGBT Police Advisory Board will meet on Monday, Aug. 22, at Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse to discuss its recent meetings with Mayor Kasim Reed and Chief George Turner about punishments handed down during the raid on the Atlanta Eagle.

The meeting is open to the public and begins at 6:30 p.m.

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Atlanta police chief: Not enough evidence to fire some Eagle raid officers

Atlanta Police Chief George Turner

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.

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Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory Board to meet with mayor, police chief

Members of the Atlanta LGBT Advisory Board will sit down next week with the mayor and police chief to discuss their dissatisfaction with the punishments handed down to officers involved in the controversial Atlanta Eagle raid.

Mayor Kasim Reed will meet with board members on Tuesday, July 26, and Chief George Turner will meet with the board on Friday, July 29. The meetings were requested after the LGBT Advisory Board held a town hall forum on July 13; they are intended to find ways to continue “in our work to strengthen the relationship between the LGBT community and the APD,” according to letters from the board to the mayor and police chief.

The board also plans to hold another community forum with Reed and Turner in attendance to discuss the 2009 raid on the Midtown gay bar and the ongoing fallout that includes six officers being fired recently for lying about what happened during the raid.

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Atlanta police LGBT Advisory group sends letters to mayor, police chief

The Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory group sent letters today to Mayor Kasim Reed and Chief George Turner requesting meetings with each of them to discuss the punishments handed down so far in the Eagle raid.

The board announced at a July 13 community meeting it would do so and told people attending the forum that they hope to meet with each by July 27. Board members are also asking the mayor and chief to attend a future community town hall meeting in the future.

Chief Turner responded today to the board saying, "It would be my pleasure to meet with you all," and saying his assistant would set up dates for both meetings on Monday.

Mayor Reed also responded late Friday, saying he also would be "happy to meet with ... the members of the LGBT Advisory Board."

Here are what the letters sent to the mayor and the police chief stated:

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Police LGBT advisory board: Atlanta mayor, police chief need to fire more officers in Eagle raid

Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory Board

Frustration and anger with the mayor and police chief were expressed by several citizens at the Atlanta Police LGBT advisory group's community meeting on Wednesday as they discussed the 2009 Atlanta Eagle raid and the seemingly unending fallout from it.

About 30 people, including several police officers and representatives of Mayor Kasim Reed's staff, attended the meeting held at St. Mark United Methodist Church in Midtown. No formal action was taken by the police LGBT advisory board other than to state they are requesting separate meetings with Mayor Kasim Reed and Chief George Turner, to be held within the next two weeks.

The citizen board also plans to send a letter to each seeking answers to questions including why more officers were not fired after scathing investigations showed officers did not follow procedures when they raided the gay bar on Sept. 10, 2009.

All the people — citizens and LGBT advisory group members — who spoke at the community meeting expressed dismay that the city has taken nearly two years to take any action against the officers who lied, destroyed evidence, and violated the civil rights of the roughly 62 patrons in the bar the night it was raided.

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Criminal defense attorney questions handling of officers’ punishments in botched Eagle raid

It's a no brainer that the officers who were found to have lied and tampered with evidence in the botched 2009 Eagle raid should be fired, said Christine A. Koehler, a  criminal defense attorney based in Gwinnett County.

As past president of the gay Stonewall Bar Association and the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, Koehler said if she practiced in Fulton County, she would be immediately looking through past client records to see if any of the APD officers cited in two scathing investigations on the Eagle raid for lying and tampering with federal evidence testified against any of her clients.

"And I would seek new trials based on the officers' credibility," she said.

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Atlanta police LGBT Advisory group member demands Eagle raid officers be fired

kasim reed web story body LGBT advisory board letter

A member of the Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory group is demanding fellow members ask Mayor Kasim Reed and Chief George Turner to fire officers involved in the raid on the Atlanta Eagle after the department was slammed in reports released last week.

Betty Couvertier, who also hosts and produces “Alternative Perspectives,” an LGBT radio show on WRFG 89.3 FM every Tuesday, sent a letter to other board members on Wednesday expressing her dismay with Reed's revelation that he was “shocked” when he read the reports from the APD's Office of Professional Standards and an independent report by high-profile law firm Greenberg Traurig. The reports state officers lied, destroyed evidence and also showed outright anti-gay prejudices related to the 2009 raid on the gay bar.

“I find it offensive and disturbing that the mayor would be shocked, after all the Civilian Review Board [Atlanta Citizen Review Board]  came to similar conclusions a year ago but they were rejected [by Chief Turner],” she said in a letter to the advisory group members Glen Paul Freedman, chair; Josh Noblitt; Tracee McDaniel; Ebonee Bradford Barnes, Tracy Elliott, Molly Simmons, Philip Rafshoon and Terence McPhaul.