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New Year’s stabbing suspect released on $35,000 bond

Luke O'Donovan, 19, charged in the stabbing of several people at a New Year's party, is set to be released today or tomorrow on a $35,000 bond. 

The bond was set today in Fulton Magistrate Court. O'Donovan did not appear in the courtroom but some 25 of his family and friends gathered at the courthouse to show support. When they learned of his release from O'Donovan's attorney Greg Schwarz, they cheered in the hallway outside the courtroom.

His friends, who started a website and fundraising campaign, say O'Donovan was a victim of a "queerbashing.”

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Former Eagle raid officer says Atlanta police had arrest quotas

An Atlanta Police Department officer who was fired after a city investigation into the unconstitutional raid of the Midtown gay bar Atlanta Eagle has said in court documents that officers were required to meet arrest quotas, according to a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Cayenne Mayes, who was fired from the APD for lying during the investigation of the 2009 Eagle raid, was also part of another lawsuit filed by young men who said they were illegally strip searched by Mayes and other APD officers who were part of the now disbanded Red Dog Unit.

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Atlanta police investigate if queer stabbing suspect was also victim in New Year’s fray

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The Atlanta Police Department is investigating if Luke O'Donovan, 19, was a victim in the fight in which he and five others were stabbed in the early morning of New Year's Day. Currently, O'Donovan sits in the Fulton County Jail without bond facing five felony charges of aggravated assault, but his friends say he was fighting back against a “queerbashing.”

O'Donovan's preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 16, and is one of hundreds of cases on the docket.

"Wednesday is the preliminary hearing and hopefully we will have a chance to seek bond at that time," said Noah Pines, attorney for O'Donovan.

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Website goes up in support of stabbing suspect

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Supporters of Luke O'Donovan, 19, who faces five charges of aggravated assault for allegedly stabbing several men at a New Year's party, have set up a website and issued a statement that O'Donovan was a victim of homophobia.

From the website:

The motivations of the attack on Luke seem to originate in the fact that he had been seen dancing with and kissing other men earlier at the party. Luke was repeatedly insulted with homophobic slurs throughout the night. The men who attacked Luke are known to have exhibited homophobic language and behavior in the past. Luke was called a faggot during the fight. This provides clear evidence that the attack on Luke was in some way motivated by homophobia and perpetrated by multiple men while Luke was alone.

An Atlanta Police report released to the GA Voice Thursday states that a fight broke out in the early morning hours of Jan. 1 "over a discussion regarding sexuality" that allegedly led to several men being stabbed.

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Police report: New Years stabbings started with ‘discussion regarding sexuality’

Luke O'Donovan

An Atlanta Police report released today states that witnesses told officers a fight broke out among five or six men on Jan. 1 "over a discussion regarding sexuality" that allegedly led to several men being stabbed.

Arrested in the incident that occurred at a New Year's Eve party was Luke O'Donovan, 19. He was also stabbed several times during the fight and treated at Atlanta Medical Center before he was transported to Fulton County Jail, according to the report.

O'Donovan faces five charges of aggravated assault and remains behind bars. A Facebook page has been set up in support of O'Donovan.

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Atlanta Police say ‘It Gets Better’ to LGBT youth

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Twenty-three gay and lesbian officers shared their personal stories of coming out in an "It Gets Better" video as part of a global movement to help young people struggling with their sexuality and gender identity.

The video was shown for the first time to the public Wednesday at the Phillip Rush Center.

The video includes an introduction by Chief George Turner, who says he is an LGBT ally and honored to support the "It Gets Better" project.

"All teenagers go through an awkward phase but it can be especially daunting if you are  someone who is unsure of your sexuality and where your life may be headed. As a police force we will stand up for you, no one deserves to be bullied for any reason," Turner says.

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McDonough police: Missing lesbian died of self-inflicted gunshot wound

Lisa Lawson

Lisa Lawson, a 40-year old lesbian who was reporting missing in mid-November and was found deceased Dec. 4, died of an apparent suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to a McDonough police report obtained by GA Voice.

Lawson was first reported missing Nov. 19. Her disappearance prompted her girlfriend, Michelle Alexander, to create a media campaign to help find her. The website, www.findlisalawson.com, and an accompanying video on YouTube helped spread the story of Lawson's disappearance.

An expanded search of Lawson's last known whereabouts was conducted on Dec. 4 and her vehicle, a green Chevrolet Suburban, was found in a Wal-Mart parking lot in McDonough, Ga., after investigators determined her last known location using cell tower records.

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Atlanta Police to premiere ‘It Gets Better’ video Dec. 12

The Atlanta Police Department will host the first viewing of its "It Gets Better" video on Dec. 12 at the Phillip Rush Center.

The video will be shown at 6:30 p.m. and features 23 gay and lesbian officers.

From a press release:

The Atlanta Police 'It Gets Better Video' showcases LGBT personnel from many ranks, including a deputy chief, a captain, several lieutenants, sergeants and officers. They talk about coming out, the difficulties of growing up ‘different’ and their ability to overcome it. Chief George Turner provides an introduction to the video.

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WATCH: Atlanta’s City Talk profiles Atlanta Police LGBT liaisons, discuss ‘It Gets Better’ video

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City Talk, a public access TV show focusing on Atlanta's government, aired a segment recently about the LGBT officers in the Atlanta Police Department.

Officer Brian Sharp, the first male LGBT liaison for the APD, discusses the department's role to build bridges between the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities and the APD.

Sharp also points out that the APD has made an "It Gets Better Video" and a community screening is planned for December. Sharp states in his interview the video would also be shared on APD's Facebook page and Twitter account. The video will be made public either Thursday or Friday, according to an APD spokesperson.

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Atlanta City Council approves $250,000 settlement to HIV positive man denied police job

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.