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LGBT police advisory board ‘insulted’ by how long Eagle investigation is taking

Members of the LGBT Advisory group to the Atlanta Police Department say they are confused and "insulted" by how long an internal investigation is taking into the unconstitutional raid on the Atlanta Eagle.

The advisory board received a copy of a letter from Chief George Turner to the Atlanta Citizen Review Board saying he was rejecting the CRB's recommendations for punishment of officers involved in the Atlanta Eagle raid. Recommendations ranged from a 30 day suspension of one officer, three-day suspensions for others as well as written reprimands and Fourth Amendment training.

"At this time, the Office of Professional Standards has not concluded its investigation into the allegations surrounding the Eagle file; as further investigative requirements arose as a result of civil litigation that stemmed therefrom," the letter from Turner states. The letter is dated Jan. 25.

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Anti-gay states may be hazardous to your health

Dr. Abbie Goldberg says anti-gay laws affect health of LGBT persons

Same-sex couples with adopted children living in states with anti-gay adoption laws and attitudes had more mental health issues in their first year of parenthood than couples with adopted children living in more accepting states, a new study has found.

In addition, same-sex couples with adopted children who perceived higher support from their family and workplace and lived in more gay-friendly neighborhoods reported better mental health than those who did not.

While the results may seem like common sense, this is the first study to examine changes in depression and anxiety across the first year of adoptive parenthood in same-sex couples. It is also the first study to examine mental health among new gay male parents, either adoptive or biological.

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‘Dragnique’ finale on Friday to crown Atlanta’s next drag diva

Dragnique ends Friday night with the crowning of Atlanta's next drag superstar, and I'm kind of bummed to see the end of a fun weekend tradition.

Some combination of my friends and I have made it out each Friday for the past six weeks to see the competition at Jungle, and from the very beginning it was clear that Draqnique was to be a unique offering to Atlanta's already diverse drag scene.

I've seen a lot of drag since I moved to Atlanta almost six years ago. I dated a former drag queen and during our time together, it often felt like we went from drag bar to drag bar to see what amounted to a lot of the same thing over and over again. While I believe it takes talent to transform oneself from male to believably female, my patience for lip-syncing songs with mediocre stage presence is fleeting.

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Source: Eagle settlement for plaintiffs more than $10,000 each

While nobody involved in the Eagle raid settlement with the city will discuss on the record the exact amount of money the plaintiffs are receiving, one person close to the case who asked to not be identified said the amount received by the plaintiffs was “considerably more than $10,000 per person.”

Plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit against the city who sued because their constitutional rights were violated during the infamous Sept. 10, 2009, raid on the Midtown gay bar picked up their checks today.

In a report on Wednesday, GA Voice reported that plaintiff Johnnie Curran said he was told that the average amount the plaintiffs received was about $10,000.

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Discussing the censorship of gay artist’s ‘A Fire in My Belly’

Emory University hosts “Art and Censorship: A Screening of David Wojnarowicz’s ‘A Fire in My Belly’ and Panel Discussion from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 17.

“A Fire in My Belly” was part of the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition titled “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” and was recently banned from the exhibit after Catholic leaders complained to the Smithsonian of the image of ants crawling over a crucifix.

Also part of the Thursday event at Emory will be film footage of ACT UP in Atlanta from 1990, provided by Jeff Graham, a longtime HIV and LGBT activist who is now the executive director of Georgia Equality.

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Atlanta Eagle plaintiffs to receive checks Thursday from city settlement

The plaintiffs in the Atlanta Eagle lawsuit will be picking up their checks on Thursday.

The $1.025 million settlement the city entered into with the plaintiffs — patrons of the bar the night it was raided by the Atlanta Police Department — was entered into an escrow account of Lambda Legal, an LGBT legal advocacy organization. Lambda Legal assisted in the lawsuit with lead attorney Dan Grossman and the Southern Center for Human Rights.

Johnnie Curran, one of the plaintiffs, confirmed he received an email telling him the checks were available for pick up at the Atlanta Lambda Legal office on Thursday. He did not disclose the amount he received, but did say the average amount for the plaintiffs was approximately $10,000. There were 26 individual plaintiffs as well as two companies that were part of the federal civil lawsuit.

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‘Eagle 8’ trial prosecutor fired for not paying bar dues

Larry Gardner, prosecutor against the Eagle 8 has been disbarred

The prosecutor of the Eagle 8 trial has been fired after it was learned he had not paid his State Bar of Georgia dues, according to a statement from the Atlanta Solicitor’s Office.

The GA Voice learned Larry Gardner, a prosecutor for the Atlanta Solicitor’s Office, had not paid his bar dues when the Eagle trial occurred in March 2010, which is necessary to practice law in Georgia. By not paying dues, attorneys are put on administrative suspension.

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Positive Impact’s M.I.S.T.E.R. opens new gay center on Valentine’s Day

For several weeks, the staff and volunteers of Positive Impact have been painting and decorating the new M.I.S.T.E.R. Community Center set to open on Valentine's Day to the public.

It's just one way the agency is showing its love, says Chandler Bearden, prevention specialist of Community Outreach for M.I.S.T.E.R., which stands for "Men's Information Services: Testing * Empowerment * Resources."

The community center, located in Positive Impact's space at 139 Ralph McGill Boulevard, will be open for visitors on Monday from 5-7 p.m.

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Atlanta police lead investigator of Eagle raid arrested

The Atlanta Police Department's lead investigator in the Atlanta Eagle raid was arrested this week for driving under the influence of alcohol and possession of marijuana.

The news was first broken Saturday by Stephanie Ramage, former news editor at the Sunday Paper, who now writes her own blog.

Officer Bennie Bridges, 41, of the Vice unit was the lead investigator into the anonymous complaints that led to the Eagle raid in September 2009. Bridges was arrested in Cobb County on Thursday at about 3 a.m. The booking report shows that Bridges was arrested at I-285 East and Cobb Parkway and charged with speeding, DUI and possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. He was released on $1,900 bond, according to the Cobb report.

APD spokesperson Officer Kimberly Maggart said Saturday night that Bridges is on administrative leave with pay.

"This matter has been referred to the department's Office of Professional Standards for investigation. Further comment on this specific incident would be inappropriate. However, Chief Turner expects Atlanta police officers to follow the laws they are sworn to uphold and enforce. Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action," she added in a statement.

Carlos Campos, spokesperson for the APD, confirmed Monday that Bridges was driving an unmarked city vehicle when he was arrested.

"Officer Bridges is still assigned to APD's Vice Unit (though, as noted before, he is presently on administrative leave with pay as a result of the arrest). The vehicle is assigned to him as part of his job duties," Campos said in a statement.